This post is part of the #HERvotes blog carnival. Check out other posts here.
Last week, the Obama Administration ruled on the side of women on a very important women’s health care issue. If you read our blog, you know that we were happy to announce the Obama administration’s rule that health insurance plans must include contraception among the preventive services available to women without deductibles or co-pays under the new health care law.
Since then there have been some disagreement with the administration’s decision not to expand an exception it created for religious employers to include a broader set of other employers that are “affiliated” with a religion that opposes contraception. Even in Wisconsin some religious leaders spoke out against the administration’s decision in their Mass, last Sunday. However, the numbers show that 98% of the Catholic women being preached to will use some form of contraception in their lifetimes.
Despite the pressure received, the Obama Administration decided to maintain birth control coverage without co-pays or deductibles for students and employees at religiously-affiliated schools, hospitals, social service agencies and other institution, a decision that will undoubtedly enhance comprehensive women’s health care in Wisconsin and across the nation.
The Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health (WAWH), believes concern about employers whose principles would be offended by having to underwrite such coverage ignores the principles of the many thousands of Wisconsin women, plus their dependents, who want and would be denied this important health coverage if the exception had been expanded. Further, much evidence demonstrates that, in practice, employers would not really be underwriting this coverage, since their premiums would likely not change, or could even decrease, when contraceptive coverage is included.
Birth control use is nearly universal among women of child-bearing age, including Catholic women. The decision not to expand the exception was the right one – as a matter of public health, respect for individual conscience and simple fairness to Wisconsin women and their families.
WAWH, as always, continues Raise Wisconsin Women’s Voices towards expanding health care options through meaningful health care reform and implementation. Expanding access to basic prevention in women’s health care – including contraception – is just one more step in improving access to critical health care services for all women.