Survey: Nearly Three in Four Voters in America Support Fully Covering Prescription Birth Control

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Survey: Nearly Three in Four Voters in America Support Fully Covering Prescription Birth Control

Planned Parenthood Kicks Off Effort to Demonstrate Support for Covering All FDA-approved Prescription Contraception Under New Health Insurance Plans, with No Co-pay or Out-of-Pocket Costs to Women

WASHINGTON - Nearly three-fourths of American voters (71 percent) believe insurers
should be required to fully cover the birth control pill and other
forms of prescription contraception as they will be required to do for
other preventive health care services under the new health care reform
law, according to new data released today.

In addition, the survey found that access to affordable birth control
is a serious issue. The survey reports that one in three women voters
(34 percent) have struggled with the cost of prescription birth control
at some point in their lives. For young adult women, who are most likely
to experience an unintended pregnancy, more than half (55 percent)
experienced a time when they could not afford to use birth control
consistently. 

The survey, conducted by Hart Research Associates and commissioned by
Planned Parenthood Action Fund, found overwhelming and widespread
public support for national policies that would provide prescription
birth control approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at
no cost to all women with health insurance.

As part of the Affordable Care Act, new health insurance plans are
required to cover women’s preventive health care services with no
co-pays to their members. The Women’s Health Amendment was included in
the final legislation as a way to address gaps in women’s health care,
and the law leaves it to the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services (HHS) to define what specific preventive benefits will be
covered. HHS is expected to release a decision by August 2011 regarding
what additional benefits will be covered. 

“At Planned Parenthood, we see too many women choosing
between birth control and basics like rent, tuition and childcare.
Because our country leads the industrialized world in unintended and
teen pregnancy, prescription birth control must be made available at no
cost,” said Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood
Federation of America. “Making birth control available at no cost makes
it possible for women to use the method that works best for them and
will reduce the number of unintended pregnancies in America.”

Out-of-pocket costs for birth control can be prohibitively expensive
for many women, especially those with low-incomes. The high price of
birth control can result in women using birth control inconsistently or
not at all, often leading to unintended pregnancies. Co-pays for birth
control pills typically range from $15 to $50 a month, and co-pays and
other out-of-pocket expenses for long-term contraception, such as the
IUD, cost significantly more upfront. 

The survey released today shows that:

• 71 percent of all voters, including men and women, say prescription
birth control should be included as preventive health care services,
covered without any out-of-pocket costs.
o This includes three in five male voters (60 percent) and four out of five female voters (81 percent).
• Seven
in 10 Republican women (72 percent) said that birth control should be
included as preventive health care, covered without any out-of-pocket
costs.
• 77 percent of Catholic women voters said that birth control
should be covered as preventive health care without any out-of-pocket
costs.
• One in three women voters (34 percent) report having struggled with the cost of prescription birth control at some point.
o This figure rises dramatically among specific demographic groups:
o  55 percent of women 18–34 have struggled with the cost of prescription birth control.
o 57 percent of young Latina women 18–34 have struggled with the cost of prescription birth control.
o 54 percent of young African-American women 18–34 have struggled with the cost of prescription birth control.

“Fully covering prescription birth control makes medical sense,
because doing so would help to reduce the number of unintended
pregnancies and would help to keep women and children healthy,” said Dr.
Hal Lawrence, Vice President for Practice Activities, American Congress
of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. “Women whose pregnancies are
unintended are less likely to get prenatal care and are at greater risk
for conditions such as premature and low-birth-weight babies.”

To raise awareness about the importance of making prescription birth
control available at no cost under the new health care reform law,
Planned Parenthood is launching Birth Control Matters, www.birthcontrolmatters.org
an effort to make no-cost prescription birth control available so that
all women can use the method that works best for them and to reduce the
number of unintended pregnancies.

The poll data presented today is based on a survey of 1,147 voters and was completed in July 2010.

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Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) is many things to many people. We are a trusted health care provider, an informed educator, a passionate advocate, and a global partner helping similar organizations around the world. Planned Parenthood delivers vital health care services, sex education, and sexual health information to millions of women, men, and young people.

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