Population Matters

President Obama Compromises, but Doesn’t Compromise Women’s Health

February 10th, 2012

President Obama today issued a statement outlining a compromise approach to ensuring that women working at religiously affiliated hospitals and universities will be able to get their contraceptive needs covered by health insurance.  In making his announcement, the President made it clear that he was not willing to compromise the health of those women who want access to contraceptives.

According to the President:

Nearly 99 percent of all women have relied on contraception at some point in their lives –- 99 percent.  And yet, more than half of all women between the ages of 18 and 34 have struggled to afford it.  So for all these reasons, we decided to follow the judgment of the nation’s leading medical experts and make sure that free preventive care includes access to free contraceptive care.

Whether you’re a teacher, or a small businesswoman, or a nurse, or a janitor, no woman’s health should depend on who she is or where she works or how much money she makes.  Every woman should be in control of the decisions that affect her own health. Period.

While the new rule would allow religious institutions with religious objections to opt-out of covering birth control, the participating insurance company would be required to offer such coverage. The insurance company would also be responsible for contacting the employee and letting them know about the benefit.  Religious-affiliated institutions would not be required to do anything.

This new rule addresses the concerns that were raised by the Catholic Church, but does so without jeopardizing the reproductive health of women.

Thank you, Mr. President, for finding a compromise that did not compromise women’s health.  A woman’s reproductive health should not depend on who she is or where she works or how much money she makes.

Posted by Jennie Wetter, Program Manager

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