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The average woman who wants two children spends three decades – more than three-quarters of her reproductive life – trying to avoid pregnancy.1 It’s no wonder that more than 99 percent of women have used contraception at some point in their lives.
As national organizations committed to women’s health, we are writing in response to ongoing efforts by opponents of women’s health to undermine the contraceptive coverage provision in the Affordable Care Act. As you work to craft a measure to fund the federal government past March 27 and through fiscal year 2013, we stand in opposition to any language that will weaken the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage provision in any continuing resolution or omnibus appropriations measure.
Emergency contraception (EC), also known as the morning after pill, prevents pregnancy for up to 120 hours after unprotected sex, sexual violence or contraceptive failure such as a missed birth control pill or broken condom. EC is a safe and effective way to prevent pregnancy and should be available to all women.
Ballot initiatives can be powerful policy-making tools that raise community-specific issues and allow citizens to take democracy into their own hands. In recent years, however, they have also been a means to push an extreme agenda that would undermine women’s health and reproductive rights.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the greatest advance for women’s health in a generation. It’s already improving the lives of millions of women and families, and will get even better with time.
The National Partnership for Women & Families wants to again commend the Administration for the extraordinary effort that has gone into implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to date. We have long advocated for reforms that ensure access to comprehensive, affordable health care for all women and their families, with an emphasis on the needs of lower-income women.
We strongly urge you to support women’s reproductive health programs in the Fiscal Year 2013 (FY13) appropriations process and to reject any policy riders and funding cuts that would limit access to critical women’s health services.
Congress should increase or retain funding for Reproductive Health Programs, so that millions of Americans do not lose their source of primary and preventive health care services. The Title X federal family planning program and Medicaid are the primary federal sources for public reproductive health funding. In the last year, many states have taken steps to reduce or eliminate their family planning programs, making federal funding even more important.
Birth control is an integral component of primary and preventive health care for most women and is vitally important to the health of both mothers and babies.
For generations, women have faced discrimination in health care. A number of provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) aim to address this long-standing problem.
Refusal laws allow doctors, hospitals and insurance companies to legally deny women access to health care services they need.
We strongly urge you to support women’s reproductive health programs in the Fiscal Year 2012 (FY12) appropriations process and reject the proposed policy riders and funding cuts that would limit access to and information about critical women’s health services.
The National Partnership for Women & Families wants to commend the Obama Administration for the extraordinary effort that has gone into implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) to date. We have long advocated for reforms that ensure access to comprehensive, affordable health care for all women and their families, with an emphasis on the needs of low-income women.
The Obama Administration has initiated the process to rescind a harmful regulation issued by the Department of Health and Human Services – one of the infamous ‘midnight regulations’- that became effective on the last day of the Bush Administration. The HHS regulation threatens to dramatically undermine access to a broad range of health information and services by essentially allowing health care workers and institutions an unfettered ability to refuse to provide health care services, information, and referrals that offend their religious beliefs or moral convictions.
In 2008, virtually all reproductive health debates and decisions in the legislative and policy arenas took place against the backdrop of one of the most unforgettable presidential campaigns in history – one in which voters could not have been presented with a starker choice between candidates on reproductive health policy. When the dust had settled, the country had elected a pro-choice, pro-prevention President with a strong track record of support for women’s reproductive health.
On August 26, 2008, the Bush Administration proposed a politically-motivated regulatory change that would significantly expand the rights of individuals and institutions to refuse to provide or help provide health care services that offend their religious beliefs or moral convictions. While this poorly-drafted rule raises as many questions as it answers, it is clear that the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) intends it as a back-door assault on women’s reproductive health care.
Several provisions of federal law prohibit recipients of certain federal funds from coercing individuals in the health care field into participating in actions they find religiously or morally objectionable. These same provisions also prohibit discrimination on the basis of one’s objection to, participation in, or refusal to participate in, specific medical procedures, including abortion or sterilization.
Congratulations on your historic election. Difficult times are ahead for our nation, but I stand ready to work with you to find common-sense solutions to revitalize our economy, create good-paying jobs, and make health care more affordable and accessible. That is why I hope we can continue working together to restore women's access to affordable birth control.
The November 4 election will usher in a decidedly more pro-choice and pro-family planning environment than any in recent memory. Buoyed by the election of a pro-choice President and by a significant influx of Members of Congress who are friendly to reproductive health issues, we have high hopes that the anti-reproductive rights legacy of the past eight years can start to be reversed and that issues that advance a pro-active reproductive health agenda will take their rightful place at the top of the presidential and legislative agendas.
The National Partnership for Women & Families (National Partnership) submits these comments in strong opposition to the proposed rule published on August 26, 2008 by the Department of Health and Human Services (hereinafter referenced as proposed rule or proposal). We believe the proposed rule is an ill-conceived, unnecessary, and counter-productive attempt to expand the reach of specific refusal statutes that permit institutions or individuals to deny health services for religious or moral reasons.
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