HERvotes Blog Carnival: Celebrating the ACA and New Coverage for Preventative Care!

By Cindy Pearson, co-founder, National Women’s Health Network

HERvotes is joining our voices together in a blog carnival to celebrate and defend women’s preventive services, including contraception.  Starting August 1, all new insurance plans have to cover seven preventive services with no extra fees.  That means women won’t have to put off their well-woman exam because they haven’t met their deductible, struggle to pay for the cost of a breast pump, or use an inappropriate contraceptive method just because the co-payment is more affordable.

These new rules, part of the Affordable Care Act, are opposed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and others who believe that contraception is always wrong.  After failing to stop the implementation of the new rules through political pressure, opponents have turned to the courts, where they argue that requiring insurance companies to include contraceptive counseling and methods violates the religious liberty of businesses.  We won’t let these attacks stop us from speaking out, because we know that the availability of these preventive care services will make a positive impact on the health, well-being and economic security of women.

Through this blog carnival and our organizational campaigns, we will raise our voices to educate and support all women’s access to health care that meets their needs, no matter where they work or go to school.

Join us by sharing the posts below on Facebook, Twitter (using the hashtag #HERvotes), and other social media.  And be sure to follow @HERvotes on Twitter!

#HERvotes, a multi-organization campaign launched in August 2011, advocates women using our voices and votes to stop the attacks on the women’s movement’s major advances, many of which are at risk in the next election.

Part of the #HERvotes blog carnival.

Read More:

Affordable Health Care for Women – Lauren Reisig, JWI

Thanks, ACA! New No-Cost Preventative Care Means More Women Stay Healthy – Desiree Hoffman, YWCA

At Long Last, Preventative Care Will Be Affordable for All Women, Thanks to Health Reform – Judith Lichtman, National Partnership for Women and Families

Taking Care of Women – Elisabeth MacNamara, League of Women Voters

The Value of Extending Preventative Care – Carole Levine, National Council of Jewish Women

Celebrating New Access to Birth Control for some Latinas, and Continuing the Fight for the Rest – Verónica Bayetti, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

No more struggling to find co-pay dollars for Contraception! What’s in it for Women? – Keely Monroe, Raising Women’s Voices

Women’s Health Care Available sans Co-Pay, Beginning Today

By Beth Scott, AAUW
Starting today, certain women’s preventive care services will be available without a co-pay to insured women. Although some women won’t have access to these benefits until their insurance-plan year begins on January 1, 2013, this coverage will benefit millions of women across the country. AAUW believes that everyone is entitled to health care that is high-quality, affordable, and easily accessible, and we believe preventive care coverage is a remarkable step in that direction.

The two leading causes of death for women in America are heart disease and cancer — afflictions that can often be prevented if women have access to services such as screenings, immunizations, and educational materials. Beginning today, insurance companies must cover — without co-pays or cost-sharing — women’s preventive health care services such as screenings for cancer, domestic abuse, and gestational diabetes as well as well-woman visits and all Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive services. These services are in addition to the covered preventive care services for all adults, which became available without co-pay in 2010.
After controversy over the inclusion of contraceptives on the list of covered services, the Obama administration announced an accommodation for religiously affiliated universities and employers that allows insurers instead of employers and schools to pay for this coverage. Thankfully, women will still have access to contraception without co-pay no matter where they work or attend school.
Access to preventive services such as contraception, education, counseling, and expanded health screening will help women control, track, and better manage their lifelong health. These services are so critical to women’s health and well-being that they should be available to all women without exception. A number of provisions in the health care reform law improve access to health care so that more women can get coverage.
Americans cannot continue to refuel our economy as productive members of the workforce if we are sick, saddled with health care costs, or — in the case of women — blatantly discriminated against by our insurance providers. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act means that these gains won’t be rolled back, but it’s up to all of us to make our voices heard and keep pushing for a health care system that’s equitable to women.

AAUW is working to make sure that the voices of all women are heard on issues of health care and much more. The AAUW Action Fund’s It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard campaign is making an unprecedented investment in turning out women voters. AAUW is educating, engaging, and registering millennial women voters — young adults ages 18–30 —across the country. Together, we’ll ensure that women understand what’s at stake in 2012 and know how to use their voices and their votes to influence the election and protect women’s health care gains!
To celebrate free preventive care services for women, AAUW is hosting a virtual party. Stop in throughout August, and tell us why you’re celebrating!

                                                                                                                                                    Part of the #HERvotes blog carnival.

 

 

HERvotes Blog Carnival: What Health-Care Reform Means to Women

By Cindy Pearson, co-founder of Raising Women’s Voices for the Health Care We Need

For the tenth #HERvotes blog carnival, we’re celebrating the second anniversary of the new health-reform law, the Affordable Care Act, or ACA.

Why are women so excited about the ACA? Well, for a start, the law has already started removing barriers to health care and improving services for millions of women and our families, helping us access the care we need to stay healthy.

This week’s #HERvotes blog carnival is going to raise women’s voices all across the country. We will tell our stories of how the Affordable Care Act has helped us, what is still wrong with our health care system and what we’re doing to make a difference. We will express our anger about the insurance company abuses–such as charging us more than men for our health insurance–that will continue until the ACA is fully implemented. And perhaps most importantly, we’ll share why this important advance for women should be upheld by the Supreme Court when it takes up the Affordable Care Act next week.

Please join us in lifting our voices–because we all have something to gain from the Affordable Care Act.

You can participate by telling your own story and by sharing the posts below on Facebook, Twitter (using the hashtag #HERvotes) and other social media.

#HERvotes, a multi-organization campaign launched in August 2011, advocates women using our voices and votes to stop the attacks on the women’s movement’s major advances, many of which are at risk in the next election.

Read more

As ACA Faces a Supreme Court Challenge, Who Is at Stake?- Shivana Jorawar, NAPAWF

Stand Up For Health Care Tumblr- NARAL Pro-Choice America

10 Things to LOVE About the Affordable Care Act- Debra Ness, National Partnership for Women and Families

Celebrate Second Anniversary of Affordable Care Act- Family Values @ Work

The Affordable Care Act: Hope for Health Care Equality For All- Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health via RHRealityCheck

Health Insurance Access for Young Latina Adults – National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

Health Reform to Expand Reach of Community Health Centers- National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

No Co-pay for Pregnancy Care is Good for Latina Moms and Babies – National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

Medicaid to Service 6 Million More  – National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

Prevention Saves Latinas’ Lives – National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

Insurance protections for Latinas’ with Pre-Existing Conditions - National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

Cervical Cancer Prevention for Latinas - National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

No Co-Pays for STI/HIV Testing – National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

Showing love for women, mothers and Babies – National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

The Affordable Care Act Turns 2 – No Baby Step for Women- Gloria Lau, YWCA USA

Why It’s Time for Women’s Rights- Sophia Yen and Ellen Shaffer, Trust Women/Silver Ribbon Campaign

20 Million Women and Counting …Two Years of the Affordable Care Act- Jacqueline M., Planned Parenthood Action Fund

Thank you, ACA: Protecting Our Country’s Well-being by Protecting Students-  Andrea Alajbegovic, National Women’s Law Center

New Options for Those with Chronic Illness-  Dania Palanker, National Women’s Law Center

Affordable Care Act: A Necessity for Women’s Health- Katharine Nasielski, Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism

How the ACA is Helping My Family-  Sarah Robinson, National Women’s Law Center

The Limbo of a College Graduate-  Brittany Papalia, National Women’s Law Center

Preventative Care: Protect the Affordable Care Act- Mallen Urso, National Women’s Political Caucus

Why I Support the Health Care Law- Amy Cotton, National Council of Jewish Women

Where Would Women be Today without the Landmark Programs that were Enacted Over the Last 45 Years to Protect and Advance Women’s Health?- Raising Women’s Voices

The Impact of the Affordable Care Act on One Young Woman- Lindsay Yancich, NOW

Why We Need the Affordable Care Act- Julie Seger, AAUW

Healthcare Stories the Supreme Court Needs to Read- Nancy Keenan, NARAL Pro-Choice America

Today’s Story on How Health Reform Helps Women- NARAL’s Blog for Choice

HERvotes Blog Carnival: Gen Y Women Benefit from the Affordable Health Care Act- Business and Professional Women’s Foundation

Celebrating the 2nd Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act!- Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, MomsRising

2 Year Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act-What’s In It for Young People?- Sarah Audelo, Advocates for Youth

The Affordable Care Act and Women’s Health- National Association of Social Workers

Health Reform: Winning for Women- Tara Mancini, WIN’s Women’s Health Policy Network

Two Years Later, Reflections on the Landmark Health Care Law, Miri Cypers, Jewish Women International

Real Stories on Why Health-Care Reform Helps Women,Thomas Dollar, NARAL Pro-Choice America *updated daily*

Photo of Barack Obama signing the Affordable Care Act on March 23, 2010, from Wikimedia Commons.

HERvotes Blog Carnival: No Religious Exemption for Birth Control Coverage

by Kim Gandy, Feminist Majority Foundation

Despite enormous pressure from the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Obama Administration recently decided not to broaden the religious exemption for contraceptive coverage under the Preventive Care package of the Affordable Care Act. This demand for additional exemptions,  would have denied millions of American women contraceptive coverage, including students, teachers, nurses, social workers, and other staff (and their families) at religiously-connected or affiliated schools, universities, and hospitals, as well as agencies and institutions like Catholic Charities.

The Catholic Bishops are now leading a backlash against this decision, and women are speaking out.  Because of the Affordable Care Act, millions of women who may have been denied access to birth control will now have full access under their health insurance plan, with no co-pays or deductibles, beginning in August 2012. Birth control is the number one prescription drug for women ages 18 to 44 years. Right now, the average woman has to pay up to $50 per month for 30 years for birth control. As a result, many women have had to forgo regular use of birth control and half of US pregnancies are unplanned.

Women of all faiths are employed by hospitals and schools that are owned by religious interests, and they should not be denied equal health care coverage.  We urge the Obama Administration to continue to stand strong for women’s health care.

Join us by sharing the posts below on Facebook, Twitter (using the hashtag #HERvotes), and other social media.

Part of the #HERvotes blog carnival.

Take Action:

Join the Feminist Majority Foundation in chastising the Washington Post for repeatedly running editorials attacking the Obama administration’s decision.

Join The National Women’s Law Center and Raising Women’s Voices in thanking Kathleen Sebelius for making the right decision.

Join UltraViolet in thanking President Obama and Secretary Sebelius.

Thank the Obama administration directly on WhiteHouse.gov.

Join the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health in telling President Obama you support birth control without co-pays.

Join The National Women’s Law Center in telling your senator to reject extreme legislation.

Join The Coalition of Labor Union Women in telling the Senate that you oppose S.2043.

Read more:

Sex, Contraception, Motherhood & The Current Madness - Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, Mom’s Rising

The Long History of the War Against Contraception- Ellen Chesler, New Deal 2.0

Five Big Facts on Birth Control Not Nearly Enough Discussed by Men in the Mainstream Media- Erin Matson, NOW

Congressional Members’ Statements on Contraceptive Coverage Rule Not Based in Fact- Mara Gandal-Powers, National Women’s Law Center

Mission Accomplished With Komen: Now It’s Time to Save Birth Control Coverage!- Sammie Moshenberg, National Council of Jewish Women

Protect Women’s Health: Tell Your Senators to Reject Extreme Legislation- Judy Waxman, National Women’s Law Center

I Don’t Use Birth Control, But I Want Access To It- Abigail Collazo, Fem 2.0

This Week’s Attack on Women: Deny Contraceptives! Take Action!!- Carolyn Jacobson and Carol S. Rosenblatt, Coalition of Labor Union Women

Would You Like an Unplanned Pregnancy with that Burrito?- Jen Wang, NARAL’s Blog for Choice

HERvotes: Boehner Ups the Threat Against Contraception Coverage- Ms. Blog

Do Republicans Have Sex?- Ellen R. Shaffer, Silver Ribbon Campaign

Major Mainstream Religious Leaders Support White House on Contraceptive Coverage In Health Care Reform- Religious Institute

The Fight Millennials Never Expected: Birth Control- Sarah, Advocates for Youth

An Unholy Alliance Between the Bishops and the Right-Wing Attack Machine- Amy Allina, Raising Women’s Voices for the Health Care We Need, National Women’s Health Network

An Equal & Just World: A Woman’s Right to Control Her Own Reproductive Health- Hannah Sherman, Jewish Women International

Margaret and Helen on the Issues- Margaret and Helen

Religious Freedom in the Crosshairs of Catholic Bishops- Jon O’Brien, Catholics for Choice (Editorial in Concord Monitor)

Co-Pay for Birth Control? Not Under my Conscience Clause- Bettina Hager, National Women’s Political Caucus

Select Media Coverage:  Catholics Supporting Contraceptive Coverage Under the ACA- Complied by Catholics for Choice

Seven Things You (and the Media) Need to Know about Birth Control -Jacqueline M., Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s Women Are Watching Blog

Obama’s contraception exemption puts my patients at risk -Dr. Jennifer H. Tang, Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health; Letter to the Editor, The Charlotte Observer

Many Uses for Birth Control- Yolanda Evans, MD, Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health

Contraception Mandate Doesn’t Force Use -Bernice Durbin, Letter to the Editor, USA Today

Why All Employers Should Provide Insurance Coverage for Birth Control -Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health

Delays and Barriers to Accessing BC at Georgetown -Sandra Fluke, Georgetown University Law Students for Reproductive Justice

How to Host a Birth Control Clinic in 3 Easy Steps -Emily T. Wolf, Fordham Law Students for Reproductive Justice

Obama Administration Ensures a Wide Range of Contraceptive Insurance Coverage, Even at Religiously-Affiliated Institutions -Women’s Law Project

Birth Control and Government: The Right of Refusal Should Belong to Women -Nancy K. Kaufman, National Council of Jewish Women

Through the Looking Glass on  Contraception Coverage -Debra Ness, National Partnership for Women & Families

For the Sisters -Megan Lieff, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice

Thank you, Obama, For Standing with ALL Women on Important Health Care Issues Lacy Langbecker, the Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health

Birth Control Matters -Nita Chaudhary and Shaunna Thomas, UltraViolet

Would you let someone make your contraceptive decisions for you? Didn’t think so -Mara Gandal-Powers, National Women’s Law Center

?The Highs and Lows on Birth Control Access Coverage -Stephanie Drahan, National Women’s Law Center

Hey Media: It’s about the Health of Women and Families -Leila Abolfazli, National Women’s Law Center

?Women of Childbearing Age: Take Your Talents Elsewhere -Jill C. Morrison, National Women’s Law Center

My Health Is Not a Pork Chop -Dania Palanker, National Women’s Law Center

Single 18 year-old female. Desperately seeking affordable and accessible contraception. – Keely Monroe, National Women’s Health Network

NASW Supports HHS Decision on Women’s Rights -National Association of Social Workers

Fight Against the Catholic Attack on Preventative Healthcare for Women -Mallen Urso, National Women’s Political Caucus

The Impact of a Religious Exemption for Birth Control to University Students – Emily T. Wolf, Fordham Law Students for Reproductive Justice

We’re Not Giving Up! – Amy Allina, Raising Women’s Voices for the Health Care We Need, National Women’s Health Network

Maryland Women Have a Right to Birth Control- Leni Preston, Maryland Women’s Coalition for Health Care

Critics Get It Wrong on Contraceptive Coverage- Marcia D. Greenberger, National Women’s Law Center

One More Time…- Jill Morrison, National Women’s Law Center

Breaking News: Access to No-Cost Birth Control Secured- Judy Waxman, National Women’s Law Center

What Difference does a Co-Pay Make? Plenty!- Cindy Pearson, Raising Women’s Voices

The Greatest Advance for Women in a Generation- Jean Silver-Isenstadt, MD, PhD, National Physicians Alliance

#Fail on Birth Control from The Washington Post- Thomas Dollar, NARAL Pro-Choice America

Response to Washington Post Criticism of Contraceptive Coverage- Nancy Keenan, NARAL Pro-Choice America

Washington Post’s Gerson Ignores Catholics’ Opinions To Accuse The Obama Administration Of “Anti-Catholic Bias”

Cross posted from Media Matters

In a Washington Postcolumn, Michael Gerson accused the Obama administration of “systematic anti-Catholic bias,” pointing to its decision to end funding for anti-sex trafficking programs run by Catholic bishops that do not refer women who have been raped for abortions. In fact, large majorities of Catholics support allowing women who have been raped to have access to abortion.

Gerson Attacked The Obama Administration For Decision Not To Fund Bishops’ Anti-Sex Trafficking Programs

Gerson: Will Catholics In The Obama Administration “Betray Their Co-Religionists?” From Gerson’s November 14 column, headlined “Obama turns his back on Catholics”:

[T]he conscience protections of Catholics are under assault, particularly by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). And Obama’s Catholic strategy is in shambles.

Shortly before Obama spoke at Notre Dame, the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts brought suit against the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), seeking to eliminate a grant to programs that aid victims of human trafficking. Because Catholic programs don’t refer for abortions, the ACLU alleged that public support amounts to the establishment of religion.

The Obama Justice Department defended the grant in court. But last month, HHS abruptly ended the funding. It did not matter that an independent review board had rated the bishops’ program more effective than those of its competitors — or that career HHS employees objected to the politicized handling of the grant. HHS announced it was giving preference to grantees that offer “the full range of legally permissible gynecological and obstetric care.” This was described by one official as “standard procedure.” So it is now standard procedure in the Obama administration to deny funding to some Catholic programs based solely on their pro-life beliefs.

[...]

Broadly applied, the HHS policy would amount to systemic anti-Catholic bias in government programs.

[...]

How will the White House respond? More specifically, how will the Catholic chief of staff and America’s first Catholic vice president respond? They gave up their own adherence to Catholic teaching on abortion long ago. But are they really prepared to betray their co-religionists who still hold these beliefs? [The Washington Post, 11/14/11]

The Bishops’ Anti-Sex Trafficking Programs Do Not Refer Trafficking Victims For Abortion …

The Bishops’ Organization “Would Not Refer Women Directly” For Reproductive Services, And “Refused To Reimburse The Subcontractors With Federal Dollars.” From an October 31 Washington Post article:

The ACLU, in the lawsuit it filed in U.S. District Court in Boston in 2009, argued that many women are raped by their traffickers and don’t speak English, making it hard for them to find reproductive services without help.

While the bishops’ organization would not refer women directly, it allowed subcontractors to arrange for the services, but it refused to reimburse the subcontractors with federal dollars. [The Washington Post, 10/31/11]

… But A Study Found That Trafficking Victims Are Often Sexually Assaulted …

Nine Out Of Ten Women Have Been “Physically Forced Or Intimidated Into Sex Or Doing Something Sexual.” From a 2006 study conducted by The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, titled “Stolen smiles: a summary report on the physical and psychological health consequences of women and adolescents trafficked in Europe”:

Nearly all women (95%) reported physical or sexual violence, with three-quarters of respondents having been physically hurt, and 90% reporting having been sexually assaulted.

[...]

Women were asked if they were physically forced or coerced by fear or threats to have sex or do something sexual. Nine out of ten women in this study (90%) reported having been physically forced or intimidated into sex or doing something sexual. The majority of women who reported being coerced into sex (83%) were also physically forced (92%). [The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, 2006]

The study included the following chart:

[The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, 2006]

Recommendations Of The Study: “Respect Women’s Reproductive Rights By Offering Access To Safe Abortion Services.” Recommendations for health service providers and organizations providing services to trafficked women from the 2006 study by The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine:

3. Provide physical, sexual, reproductive and mental health support adapted from models of good practice used for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and torture, also relying on good practice guidelines for minority communities and refugees.

4. Respect women’s sexual and reproductive health rights by offering access to safe abortion services, counselling (sic) for voluntary HIV testing, anti-retroviral drugs, and post-prophylaxis, as required. [The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, 2006]

… And American Catholics Think Rape Victims Should Have Access To Abortions

Poll: 78 Percent Of Catholics Think Women Should Be Able To Obtain An Abortion When A Pregnancy Is The Result Of Rape. From A Catholics for Choice pamphlet, titled “The Facts Tell the Story”:

86% of Catholics approve of abortion when a woman’s health is seriously endangered, and 78% think it should be possible for a woman to obtain an abortion when a pregnancy is the result of rape. (GSS 2008) [Catholics for Choice, 2011]

Gerson Also Attacked The Obama Administration For Potentially Requiring Catholic Employers To Provide Birth Control Coverage ….

Gerson: Proposal To Require Employers To Cover Contraception Is A “Provocation” Against Catholics. From Gerson’s November 14 column:

Broadly applied, the HHS policy would amount to systemic anti-Catholic bias in government programs. And the provocation is one in a series. HHS has drawn conscience protections so narrowly that Catholic colleges, universities and hospitals — any Catholic institution that employs and serves non-Catholics — will be required to offer health coverage that includes contraception and drugs that cause abortion. [The Washington Post, 11/14/11]

… But Catholics Also Support Health Insurance Coverage For Contraception

Survey: 63 Percent Of Catholic Voters Support Health Insurance Coverage For Contraception And The Use Of Condoms To Prevent HIV/AIDS. A September 2009 national opinion survey of Catholic voters found that when asked, “Do you think health insurance policies — whether they are private or government — should cover … [c]ontraception, such as birth control pills,” 63 percent said yes. [Belden Russonello & Stewart, September 2009]

Is Obama Caving to Bishops out of Misplaced “Gratitude”?

by

According to an inside scoop from RHReality Check, President Obama is leaning toward bowing to pressure from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to exempt religiously affiliated organizations from mandatory birth control coverage. This would mean that organizations that aren’t actual churches–such as colleges, universities and hospitals–would get out of covering birth control in insurance plans for their students and employees. (This despite the fact that many, if not most, of those students and employees aren’t Catholic. And that HHS has deemed birth control essential preventive care. And that 77 percent of Catholic women want their birth control covered.)

Jodi Jacobson of RH Reality Check has received an unconfirmed tip that the President is tempted to side with the Bishops out of “gratitude” for their help in passing the Affordable Care Act. Jacobson rightly points out that if the president should be grateful this Thanksgiving to anyone for the passage of health care reform, it’s women:

[G]roups representing many millions of women throughout the country worked tirelessly–exhaustively–for well over a year to support the President’s health reform initiative.  They did this even when women lost benefits in the process, supporting the President and able in the end to point at least to gains in coverage of fundamental preventive care such as birth control without a co-pay as a victory.

However, Sarah Posner of Religion Dispatches reports that, according to her sources, no decision has yet been made.

We’re guessing the decision may announced on Friday–aka “take out the trash day“–in order to avoid blowback from both sides.

Let the White House know what you think while there’s still time: Birth control is preventive care and should be covered with no copay by all insurance plans, including those administered by people of faith.

Photo from Flickr user Aflcio under Creative Commons 2.0.

Cross posted from the Ms. Magazine blog

HERVotes Blog Carnival: Women v. the Bishops

by Kim Gandy, Feminist Majority Foundation

Welcome to the sixth #HERvotes blog carnival on the effort by the Catholic bishops to allow some institutions to refuse, under the Affordable Care Act, birth control coverage without co-pays to students and employees of  hospitals, universities, and other institutions, or other religious affiliated or connected institutions such as Catholic Charities.

Birth control coverage with no co-pays?  Without a doubt one of the most popular benefits of the Affordable Care Act, the preventive care provisions for women require nearly every health insurance provider to cover contraception without any cost sharing.

Until now.  Maybe.  Because there’s a full court press from the Conference of Catholic Bishops (yes, reportedly even the Archbishops are weighing in) pressuring the White House to dramatically expand this refusal clause.

The Catholic bishops want to exempt the health insurance of every religiously-connected or affiliated institution from this requirement, and millions of Americans would lose this benefit – students, teachers and staff at religiously-connected schools and universities; social workers, nurses, and other staff (and their families) at religiously-affiliated hospitals that employ thousands of people, huge organizations like Catholic Charities, and many more – regardless of the religious beliefs of those employees and students.

Although the pro-choice community opposed having any exemptions from contraceptive coverage, the guidelines issued by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius contained a narrow exemption that applied primarily to houses of worship.  But the bishops want more.  Much more.
If the bishops have their way, at least six million women with health insurance will lose this new contraceptive coverage benefit, for no reason other than where they work or go to school.

We must keep the Affordable Care Act strong, and preventive care for women is critical.

Join us by sharing the posts below on Facebook, Twitter (using the hashtag #HERvotes), and other social media.

If we spread the word far enough we can make sure the White House hears women’s voices as strongly as they are hearing from the bishops.

The blog posts below share more reasons why we need to take action now.  Happy reading and thanks for joining the fight to save contraceptive coverage in the Affordable Care Act.

#HERvotes, a multi-organization campaign launched in August 2011, advocates women using our voices and votes to stop the attacks on the women’s movement’s major advances, many of which are at risk in the next election.  We are very excited HERvotes is growing in membership and reaching millions of people.

Part of the #HERvotes blog carnival.

Birth Control Under Attack- Debra Ness, National Partnership for Women and Families

Losing My Religion: Catholic Bishops Attack Reproductive Rights, Hoping to Undermine Birth Control Coverage- Megan Kearns, Opinioness of the World

Don’t Boss My Birth Control- Amy Cotton, National Council of Jewish Women

Conservative Media Are Still Pretending That Catholics Don’t Support Insurance Coverage For Contraception- Marcus Feldman, Media Matters

President Obama: Don’t Cave in to Bishops- Say It Sister, NOW’s Blog for Equality

Fight Against an Expanded Religious Exemption that Denies Birth Control Coverage- Dren Asselmeier, Center for Inquiry on Campus

Latinas urge Obama Administration to Support Birth Control Access For All Women- Rebecca Pleitez, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

Conscience Clause: Preserving Morality or Creating Immorality?- Liz Beaulac, National Women’s Law Center

Sad Reality: New President, Same Fight- Stephanie Drahan, National Women’s Law Center

Make the Promise of Preventative Care in the ACA Real for All Women- The Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health

Calling On President Obama to Demonstrate His Respect for Women- Amy Allina, Raising Women’s Voices for the Health Care We Need

The Catholic Church Wasn’t on My Ballot: What’s Next for President Obama and Birth Control - Abigail Collazo, Fem 2.0

What is So Wrong With Abstinence Education? – Kat Sabine – the Bitch in the house

Take Action: Don’t Let the Catholic Church Deny Birth Control Coverage to Millions – Holly L. Derr, Ms. Magazine

Is Obama Caving to Bishops out of Misplaced “Gratitude”? – Holly L. Derr, Ms. Magazine

The Other 99% – Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, blogging on Huffington Post

A Message About Birth Control from the 71% – Meghan Shalvoy, Feminist Majority Foundation

The Other 99%: Will Obama Betray Them? - Carole Joffe, RHRealityCheck

Washington Post’s Gerson Ignores Catholics’ Opinions To Accuse The Obama Administration Of “Anti-Catholic Bias“- M.F., Media Matters

Right-Wing Media Twist Pelosi’s “Conscience” Comment To Claim She “Bash[ed] Catholics”- C.R., Media Matters

Fox & Friends Hypes Gerson’s Op-Ed To Accuse Obama Of Being “Anti-Catholic”- Media Matters

Women’s Basic Health Coverage Is Not For Sale- Miri Cypers, Jewish Women International

Tell Obama to Protect Birth Control- Maureen Shaw, sherights

Tell President Obama All Women Need Affordable Birth Control- Judy Waxman, National Women’s Law Center

My Employer Shouldn’t Control My Contraception Decisions- Leila Abolfazli, National Women’s Law Center

 Blog Carnival: #HERVotes against the Bishops- Heather Prescott, Knitting Clio

Should Catholic Bishops Have the Right to Control Your Life?- Janet Hill, Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW)

An Open Letter to President Obama- National Organization for Women

Should Organized Religion Have More Rights Than Women?- Georgia Platts, Ms. Magazine

 

Check out the action petitions:

Catholics for Choice

National Women’s Law Center

Feminist Majority Foundation

Planned Parenthood Federation of America

NARAL Pro-Choice America

Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health

National Council of Jewish Women