Wednesday, March 11, 2009

VICTORY: Affordable Birth Control Restored!


St Paul — Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota (PPMNS) today applauded the passage of legislation to make birth control affordable again for millions of women who obtain contraceptives at community health centers and college clinics. The provision was included in the 2009 omnibus appropriations bill that passed the U.S. Senate late yesterday and the House of Representatives two weeks ago.

In 2005, Congress passed the Deficit Reduction Act, which tightened eligibility for nominally priced drugs. In doing so, Congress inadvertently cut off safety-net providers and every college and university health center from obtaining contraception at a low cost, and passing on those savings to their patients. As a result, women have been paying up to 10 times more each month for basic contraception.

“We applaud Congress for righting a wrong that has restricted access to basic but critical preventive health care services, and left millions of women at risk of unintended pregnancy,” said Sarah Stoesz, PPMNS President and CEO. “The passing of this legislation is a victory for women’s health and especially for women who have struggled to afford the rising costs of basic contraception in these tough economic times,” said Stoesz.

“These difficult economic times have particularly affected women struggling to pay for basic health care. With 14,000 Americans losing health coverage every day, access to basic health care — including affordable birth control — is more important than ever,” Stoesz said.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, women of childbearing age spend 68 percent more in out-of-pocket health care costs than men, in part because of reproductive health-related supplies and services.

Planned Parenthood began a nationwide grassroots campaign to restore affordable birth control in 2007, carrying the message of affordable birth control to members of Congress in an effort to raise awareness about the need for a common sense fix for women and families.

President Barack Obama has been a strong supporter of this commonsense fix; as a senator, he sponsored legislation to restore access to affordable birth control.

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