One Step Closer: Contraceptive Coverage Rule Approved Under ACA

By Laura Kacere

Has the price of birth control ever kept you from buying it? The number one prescription drug for women ages 18-44 years, the average women pays $50 a month for birth control. This is an obvious barrier to access, particularly for low-income women and students. Reproductive rights are a fundamental aspect of women’s economic equality, yet access to those very rights has been predicated on income due to rising prescription costs.

The price of birth control has long been a barrier to access, but after today’s victory, we are one step closer to reproductive justice.

Under the Affordable Care Act of 2010, insurance plans will cover contraceptives with no co-pays or deductibles, going into effect this year in August. But recently, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, along with others, had requested that a religious exemption to contraceptive coverage be broadened to include religious-connected schools, hospitals, charities, and other institutions, which would have denied millions of women necessary health care. This would have included students at religious universities!

Today, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made the decision not to broaden the religious exemption for contraceptive care under the Preventive Care package of the Affordable Care Act. This will ensure that all students will have access to birth control at no cost!

Millions of women who have been denied coverage will now have access to birth control.

As excited as we are to now have birth control completely covered for those of us who are on insurance (and this is most definitely worth celebrating!), we can’t forget the millions of women whom are not covered under insurance. Over 19 million women in this country are uninsured, and this has major overall health implications, including the devastating effect it has on a woman’s right to control her own body and future.  So at this time of victory, let’s also remember those women who are unemployed or low-income and uninsured – because reproductive rights means full access to abortion, birth control, and sexual health care for ALL women!

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