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If Opponents of Birth Control Have Their Way, Millions of Women Would Lose Access to Birth Control

For a PDF version of this factsheet with footnotes and the state data, please see below.

Opponents of birth control in Congress are working night and day to enact new laws and policies that would deny millions of women access to birth control -- including access already guaranteed to women by law. Thankfully, so far, supporters of birth control have stopped the worst of these Congressional attacks.  Although the anti-birth control efforts have taken several forms, they all would have the same effect: taking birth control coverage away from women nationwide. A comparison of opponents’ and supporters’ legislative priorities makes the difference clear: while opponents of contraception would take it away from women, supporters work to ensure that women have access to affordable birth control.

 
Line of Attack # 1: Target Women with Private Insurance

The House majority has voted 33 times to repeal, defund or overturn all or part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  In addition, opponents have targeted the specific provisions that provide access to the full range of FDA-approved contraceptive methods without co-pays for millions of women with private insurance who otherwise would not have it.

  • As of August 1st of this year, the ACA guarantees birth control coverage with no co-pay to the 47 million women with private insurance as their new plans are issued.* If the ACA repeal effort had been successful, no women would be guaranteed this coverage.

    Simply put, the difference between what supporters of contraceptives have done and opponents would do:

  •  Supporters have GUARANTEED 47 MILLION WOMEN with private insurance contraceptive coverage with no co-pay.
  • OPPONENTS WOULD TAKE THIS GUARANTEE OF COVERAGE AWAY.
  • Unable to repeal the ACA, opponents have attempted to limit birth control coverage in other ways. Notably, one effort would limit the guarantee of birth control by allowing bosses and insurers to deny coverage of it if they have any “religious or moral” objection.  40.2 million women get their health insurance through their job or their spouse’s job. The anti-birth control plan would put women’s health care decisions -- about birth control and every other kind of healthcare -- in the hands of their bosses. * Opponents have also tried to impose this restriction on all of the services in the new health care law.

    Simply put, the difference between what supporters of birth control have done and opponents would do:

  • Supporters give 40.2 MILLION WOMEN WITH EMPLOYER-PROVIDED INSURANCE THE ABILITY TO DECIDE about their health care, including contraceptive coverage.
  • OPPONENTS WOULD TAKE THIS DECISION AWAY FROM WOMEN AND GIVE IT TO THEIR BOSSES.
 
Line of Attack # 2: Target Women with Public Health Insurance and/or Services

Publicly-supported family planning programs have helped women avoid 1.94 million unintended pregnancies annually.  Two federal programs -- Medicaid and the Title X family planning program -- make up 85 percent of the public support for birth control services.   Yet, the House majority has attempted to cut off the funds for these programs in several different ways.

  • Medicaid is the single largest public program providing coverage for birth control in the country;  4.5 million women receive birth control services through it annually.  The ACA contains an expansion of Medicaid that will allow 7 million additional women to enroll in Medicaid and thus gain comprehensive coverage including birth control.* If the ACA repeal efforts had worked, none of these women would have been able to join Medicaid and get this coverage. In fact, despite the opportunity this gives states to expand Medicaid coverage, officials in several states have indicated that they are likely not to take the Medicaid expansion.

      Simply put, the difference between what supporters of birth control would do and opponents would do:

  • Supporters propose that 7 MILLION WOMEN GAIN comprehensive coverage including birth control through the Medicaid expansion.
  • OPPONENTS WOULD TAKE THIS AWAY.
  • Title X of the Public Health Services Act is the national family planning program for low-income, uninsured and underinsured women, and it serves more than 4.7 million women annually. * In addition to contraceptive care, Title X clinic services promote healthy pregnancies, reduce the transmission of sexually transmitted infections, and reduce the incidence and impact of reproductive cancers. Title X provides these necessary services to low-income and uninsured women who might not otherwise receive them.  Despite the long-standing success of this program, the House leadership has tried to de-fund the program each of the last two years. 

    Simply put, the difference between what supporters of birth control have done and opponents would do:

  • Supporters want to ensure that 4.7 MILLION WOMEN continue to have access to Title X family planning services.
  • OPPONENTS WOULD TAKE AWAY FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM.
 
Line of Attack # 3: Target Organizations that Provide Birth Control Services
  • Congressional opponents of birth control have attempted to de-fund Planned Parenthood’s affiliates.  Together, Planned Parenthood’s network of providers makes up the leading reproductive health care resource in the nation. Annually, they provide millions of people with a full range of reproductive health care services, including not only birth control, but pregnancy testing, lifesaving cancer screenings, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, abortions and education about reproductive health.

      Simply put, the difference between what supporters of birth control have done and opponents would do:

  • Supporters stand up for Planned Parenthood (PPFA) and the 2.2 MILLION WOMEN to whom PPFA provides birth control annually.
  • OPPONENTS WOULD TAKE FUNDING FOR PLANNED PARENTHOOD AWAY.

 

* This data is also available for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The state data chart is included in the PDF version of this factsheet below.

* Also attached separtely is a chart on state data on private insurance by race/ethnicty