Celebrating Affordable and Accessible Contraception

plannedparenthoodactionorgThe following guest post comes to us via Morganne Rosenhaus, community engagement coordinator for Planned Parenthood Arizona.

How appropriate that, today, World Contraception Day is only five days before the health insurance exchange opens. Not only can we celebrate the advances we have made in contraceptive development over the years, but we can also rejoice around the fact that birth control is now affordable and accessible to even more women.

Obamacare allows you to visit Planned Parenthood for the same preventive health care  — with no co-pays!

Let’s start by celebrating the fact that women have options. Between rings, patches, pills, injections, IUDs (intrauterine devices), and implants — a woman can find a method that works best for her lifestyle. Of course, the search for the “perfect” method will continue — the contraceptive that not only prevents pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, but also tastes like chocolate. Fingers crossed!

Next, let’s take a moment to celebrate the fact that women have access to these methods. Through the Affordable Care Act (also known as health care reform or Obamacare), all health insurance plans must provide specific, no-cost, preventive health care coverage to women, which includes … drum roll … birth control!

Free birth control?!

On August 1, 2012, Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptives became available to women for free (or without co-pay), and starting in January 2014, this benefit will apply to most private health insurance plans and health insurance plans through the exchanges.

As with all good news, there are always a few limitations. In the case of no-cost birth control, there are two things to watch out for:

  • Women who are participants or beneficiaries in group health plans sponsored by religious employers might not be able to access this benefit. Why? As of August 1, 2013, group health plans established or maintained by certain religious employers, and insurance coverage provided in connection with such plans, are exempt from the requirement to cover contraceptive services.
  • Yes, insurance companies are required to have all FDA-approved methods of contraceptives available. However, the specific brand of birth control pills that you like might be covered by one health care insurance plan and not another. It depends …

Some people might be thinking, “This is a great benefit, but I don’t have insurance, so it doesn’t really do me any good.”

Not true! The exciting news is, if you don’t have any kind of health insurance, the health insurance exchange opens on October 1, only five days from now. Through the health insurance exchange, you can find a plan that fits your needs and your budget. Plus, no matter what level of health insurance you choose, birth control without co-pay is included. Whew!

Now you might be thinking, “If I have health insurance, I guess I don’t need to come to Planned Parenthood anymore.”

Not true! Planned Parenthood accepts most insurance plans, both through the health insurance exchanges and private insurance. Whether you have insurance or not, Planned Parenthood is here for you.

Happy World Contraception Day, and cheers to more accessible and affordable contraception here in the United States!

Read more about Obamacare here: www.plannedparenthood.org/healthinsurance

Who Stands for Planned Parenthood?

The past couple years have been rough for Planned Parenthood. As Congress ushered in Health Care Reform, we have seen definite losses to women’s health care rights. In 2010, the leadership in the House of Representatives shifted to Republican and Republicans increased in number in the Senate. The very conservative Tea Party became a large voice in this new Republican Party and are outspoken opponent’s of women’s health rights.

Nationally, 89 new laws were enacted in 2010 that affect reproductive health care rights. Of these, 39 of them in 15 different states pertain to abortion. Fourteen states introduced measures to restrict insurance coverage of abortion.

In 2011, 162 new provisions were introduced and 49% of those restricted access to abortion. Five states restricted funding to family planning providers.

Arizona passed five new laws further restricting abortion that effectively required Planned Parenthood to cease abortion services at seven of its health centers. Women living in rural areas will be the most adversely affected by these new restrictions.  Continue reading

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • When did critical thinking become illegal? Ask Iowa, a magical place where a pregnant woman was jailed for contemplating an abortion. CONTEMPLATING!! (Change.org)
  • Retired Abortion Provider Explains Unsafe Clinics (Jezebel)
  • Home HPV tests ‘could raise cervical screening uptake’ (Int’l Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics)
  • If you look up hypocrite in the dictionary, you’ll probably see the faces of all the legislators trying to pass abortion laws that do precisely what they claim to despise about Obama’s healthcare law (L.A. Times)
  • Crazycakes anti-choicer tries to force his way into exam room of Washington clinic, is sued by feds for violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE)  (CBS News)
  • And speaking of crazy…Anti-Choice Forces Adopting In-Your-Face Tactics and the Danger to Women is Real (RH Reality Check)
  • Why “the Gays” Need Planned Parenthood Too (Huff Po)
  • Unconscionable cruelty: Nebraska’s 20 week law meets the real world (UCSF-Advancing New Standards In Reproductive Health)
  • Senate Democrats show united support for Planned Parenthood- and we are SO appreciative! (The Hill)

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • Republicans have rescinded their intention to try and redefine rape in order to get in the way of a woman’s right to choose (Slate)
  • Requiring Insurers to Offer Free Contraceptives = Win (NYT)
  • Anti-choice movement becoming especially proficient in race-baiting (RH Reality Check)
  • Arizona women in rural areas may not be able to access abortion thanks to push for new legislation (AZ Daily Sun)
  • Teens Answer: Why I Had a Baby (Time)
  • FBI investigating asinine hoax against Planned Parenthood (TPM)
  • Check out this super nifty map breaking down new state level anti-choice bills (Ms. Magazine)
  • AZ Republican wants to ban abortions sought on the premise of race or sex. Because that’s such an epidemic… NOT! (AZ Capitol Times)

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • The “40 Days For Life” campaign menaces and intimidates women seeking medical care (RH Reality Check)
  • Tea Party advocates for small government- unless it concern’s a woman’s womb (Examiner)
  • Glenn Beck believes a woman’s right to choose is comparable to slavery (Media Matters)
  • The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops wants to limit women’s access to birth control under the new health reform law (RH Reality Check)
  • New Missouri Law says abortion providers must tell patients life begins at conception (Huff Po)
  • Voting pro-choice is more important than ever! Read up on the potential consequences of an anti-choice congress (NARAL)

Cecile Richards Speaks Out Against Stupak-Pitts

Planned Parenthood condemns the adoption of the Stupak/Pitts amendment in HR 3962 this evening. This amendment is an unacceptable addition to the health care reform bill that, if enacted, would result in women losing health benefits they have today. Simply put, the Stupak/Pitts amendment would restrict women’s access to abortion coverage in the private health insurance market, undermining the ability of women to purchase private health plans that cover abortion, even if they pay for most of the premiums with their own money. This amendment reaches much further than the Hyde Amendment, which has prohibited public funding of abortion in most instances since 1977.

Planned Parenthood serves three million women every year through its more than 850 affiliate health centers across the country and has worked tirelessly on behalf of those patients for affordable, quality health care. On behalf of the millions of women Planned Parenthood health centers serve, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America has no choice but to oppose HR 3962. The bill includes the Stupak/Pitts amendment that would leave women worse off after health care reform than they are today, violating President Obama’s promise to the American people that no one would be forced to lose her or his present coverage under health reform. Continue reading