Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Birth Control Excluded from "Preventive Services" List

If you have been following the health care reform debate in the news, you’re probably aware that the White House is expected to reveal the list of preventives services that will be covered under new laws regulating health care.

As the Wall Street Journal reports, “Cancer screenings, including mammograms and colonoscopies, as well as obesity prevention services, immunizations, blood pressure screenings and tobacco cessation services are among those that will be available to consumers without a copayment or other direct costs for consumers on new health plans after Sept. 23.”

Guess what is missing from that list. Just guess. If you guessed birth control you would be correct. According to that list, birth control will not be included in the preventive services. However, there are a different set of regulations specifically pertaining to women’s health that have yet to come out. The Planned Parenthood Federation of America is working hard to ensure that birth control is included in these regulations. You can learn more about their work here.

We all know how important it is to ensure that everyone has affordable access to birth control. Having birth control allows women to exercise a choice to wait to have children until they are ready, or not have children at all. Birth control remains a key factor in freeing women from being viewed purely as incubators. It allows women to go to school, work outside the home, and live life according to their plans, not an expectation that they will simply grow up, get married, and continue to reproduce for the rest of their lives. Birth control is important; so I urge you to push for it to be included free of cost in preventive services in any way that you can, whether through volunteering with a campaign, writing letters, or talking to a friend or family member about birth control and sharing your story. We must ensure that women are allowed to make a choice about their reproductive options. Together we can make a difference.

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