Obama policy could give Black women  better access to contraceptives (38468)

Drama still seems to be the name of the game when it comes to the reactions of the public, Republicans and women to President Barack Obama’s new policy that would allow employee-provided health insurance plans to cover contraceptive services for women.

Some accommodations for religiously affiliated institutions have been worked into the policy as well.

Under the president’s health care reform act, signed last year, all insurance plans are required to cover preventive care at no cost. This includes mammograms, immunizations and other services.

“We also accepted a recommendation from the experts at the Institute of Medicine that when it comes to women, preventive care should include coverage of contraceptive services such as birth control,” Obama said. “In addition to family planning, doctors often prescribe contraception as a way to reduce the risks of ovarian and other cancers and treat a variety of different ailments.

And we know that the overall cost of health care is lower when women have access to contraceptive services.” Obama added that 99 percent of all women have relied on contraception at some point in their lives.

The president’s harshest critics have been religious groups who feel that Contraception goes against religious values.

“The result will be that religious organizations won’t have to pay for these services, and no religious institution will have to provide these services directly,” he said.

“Let me repeat: These employers will not have to pay for, or provide, contraceptive services. But women who work at these institutions will have access to free contraceptive services, just like other women, and they’ll no longer have to pay hundreds of dollars a year that could go towards paying the rent or buying groceries.”

Vanessa Cullins, vice president for medical affairs at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, feels that the plan would help Black women.

In a recent blog post, Cullins wrote that she believes the policy is a huge victory for women of color, who might not have access to contraceptives because of financial means, and will cut down on unwanted pregnancies.

“Birth control is critical to the well-being of women and their families. Studies have shown that women who have access to contraceptives and use them consistently have a greater chance of graduating from high school and establishing careers,” she said.

“When women lack access to contraception, they experience many disadvantages, including achieving less education and earning lower salaries.”

In her post, Cullins added that in a recent survey, 51 percent of Black women ages 18 to 34 had trouble buying birth control and using it consistently because of the cost.

Black women are also three times more likely than white women to have unintended pregnancies.

Cullins said, “There is no question that eliminating co-pays for birth control will help reduce unintended pregnancies. As access improves, I hope all Black women will seize the opportunity to plan their pregnancies. In doing so, we will improve the quality of our lives and families.”