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Contraceptive Coverage Essential to Women's Health

Ob-Gyns Oppose Employer Interference in Medical Decisions

November 26, 2013

Washington, DC -- In light of the US Supreme Court’s decision today to hear Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc and another similar case*, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) reiterates our full support of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) no-cost birth control benefit as the best medicine for women and their families. A woman’s insurance coverage for contraception or other health care should not be determined by the personal or religious beliefs of the company’s owners. Decisions about medical care should be solely between a woman and her physician, with no involvement from her boss. 

Contraception remains of paramount importance to women’s health for many reasons.  The benefits of contraception include the following:

  • Allows a woman to be as healthy as possible before pregnancy, leading to healthier pregnancies and healthier babies. For example, women who take folic acid supplements before they conceive reduce the risk of serious birth defects of the brain, spine, or spinal cord (neural tube defects) by 50%.
  • Lowers the risk of unplanned pregnancies and abortions.
  • Allows for adequate birth spacing, lowering the risks of low birth weight and preterm birth. In fact, a prominent medical study showed that women who became pregnant less than six months after their previous pregnancy were 70% more likely to have early rupture of membranes (breaking of the water) and a 30% higher risk of other complications.
  • Offers important noncontraceptive benefits, including lowering the risk of certain cancers, treating heavy menstrual bleeding and dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation), and reducing symptoms of endometriosis.

ACOG has long advocated for vital well-woman care and access to contraception based on the tremendous impact on a woman’s overall health and well-being. To that end, ACOG worked closely with the US Congress and the Institute of Medicine to encourage insurance coverage of women’s preventive health care, including contraception. In addition, ACOG has filed 12 amicus briefs in support of the contraceptive coverage provision of the ACA. Similarly, ACOG consistently advocates for the patient-physician relationship and opposes legislative interference.

ACOG strongly supports the ACA provisions that help to guarantee that all women have insurance coverage for the full range of contraceptive methods and other critical preventive health care. ACOG also believes that companies must not be allowed to interfere in women’s relationships with their physicians.

*Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp v. Sebelius

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The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College), a 501(c)(3) organization, is the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of approximately 57,000 members, The College strongly advocates for quality health care for women, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a 501(c)(6) organization, is its companion organization. www.acog.org

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