Denying women access to birth control would prevent them
from getting basic health care. That was the argument made by Congresswoman
Nita Lowey (D-Rockland/Westchester) and Reina Schiffrin, president/CEO of
Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic, who spoke on a conference call today about the
opposition to providing contraceptives from two for-profit corporations.
“Birth control is basic health care for women,” said Schiffrin. “99 percent of American women between 19 and 44 who are sexually active used birth control.”
Schiffrin said the Affordable Care Act’s provision that health insurance coverage includes birth control might be the biggest health care advancement for women in a generation.
The Supreme Court last week agreed to hear arguments against the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that for-profit corporations include contraception coverage in employees' insurance plans. Schiffrin cautioned that upholding those challenges could set a precedent and put for-profit corporations in a position to make medical coverage decisions that in the future could possibly limit employees’ access to blood transfusions, vaccines or mental illness treatments.
“I see a much bigger issue in having employers cherry pick medical coverage based on their personal belief,” she said.
Lowey said it is a critical issue for women.
“Health care decisions should be made by a woman and her doctor – not by her boss, not by insurance companies, and not by lawmakers in Washington,” said Lowey.
“Women's health should always be left in the hands of America's women and their families.”
Schiffrin said her organization assists 37,000 patients annually in Rockland and Westchester counties with family planning services.
Earlier this year, the Obama Administration acted to ensure that no church or similar religious institution would be forced to provide contraception coverage and made an accommodation for non-profit religious organizations that object to contraception on religious grounds. Lowey said there is distinction between religious institutions and religious affiliated institutions, which would be required under the Affordable Care Act to offer health plans with contraception coverage.
“It’s very important that the health care (coverage) be comprehensive for all people,” said Lowey.