Skip to contentNational Women's Law Center

Birth Control

The March for Life Decision: A Real Head-Scratcher

On Monday, a federal district court judge issued a decision in March for Life, a case brought by a non-profit organization challenging the ACA’s birth control benefit. In that decision, the judge said that if some employees insist they don’t want a health insurance plan that includes birth control coverage, then the employer doesn’t have to cover birth control for any employee. Despite the fact that other employees have a right under federal law to birth control coverage and may need it to protect against unplanned pregnancy or for other health reasons, apparently, that right can be ignored. This outrageous decision could open up a can of worms.

What the Court Got Wrong Read more »

Wheaton College Decides Student Health Isn't Important

Wheaton College does its best to win the race to the bottom when it comes to women’s health. Read more »

Another Strong Ruling for Birth Control Coverage

Two is company, three is a crowd, and four, well, four is great news for the birth control coverage requirement. On Monday, the Fifth Circuit became the fourth appeals court to reject non-profits’ challenges to the accommodation in the birth control requirement of the Affordable Care Act.

What the Accommodation Is

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) includes a provision that requires insurance plans to cover birth control alongside a range of other preventive services, without co-payments or deductibles. The accommodation allows a non-profit organization with religious objections to birth control to exclude it from its insurance plan. The non-profit must notify its insurance plan or the federal government of its objections, so that women who work for objecting employers get birth control coverage directly from the insurance company. Read more »

Increased Birth Control Access for D.C. Women

I’ve had some unpleasant experiences trying to pick up prescriptions. I arrive at my local pharmacy, full of hope that I won’t have to wait long because I called in my prescription a few hours ago. Then I see the line and all the people in the waiting area and my heart drops. Various thoughts go through my head: Should I come back later? Should I wait it out? Will I be late to my other appointments? What will happen if I miss a dose? Recently, D.C. took a step forward to help women avoid these questions and uncertainty when it comes to their birth control. The D.C. Council passed a bill that would require insurance plans and the District’s Medicaid program to allow women to access a twelve month supply of birth control at one time.

Why Twelve Months Matters Read more »

4 Ways the Hobby Lobby Case Ruined Pretty Much Everything

So Hobby Lobby started as that place where you got crafts. Read more »

Why the Griswold Case Matters to 99% of Women (and Everyone Else Too)

Fifty years ago, the Supreme Court decided the case of Griswold v. Connecticut, which legalized access to and use of birth control. Whether you’re part of the 99% of women who use birth control at some point in their lives or not, Griswold has had an impact your life. Griswold was the foundation for many of the rights that shape our lives today, like the right to determine if and when to have children, the right to determine how to raise your children, and the right to have intimate relationships with whomever you love. Read more »

I'm All About Griswold

Growing up, I was not fond of my middle name. Griswold isn’t exactly every eight-year-old’s dream middle name. I tried to avoid anything with monogrammed initials for fear that someone would ask me what the G stood for. Grace served as a convenient substitute. Then I heard about Griswold v. Read more »

Finding Griswold's Missing Women

Fifty years ago this week, the Supreme Court held that the Constitution did not permit a state to prohibit the use of contraceptives within marriage or the provision of contraceptives to married people. Finding a “zone of privacy created by several fundamental constitutional guarantees,” the majority concluded that the contraception bans unconstitutionally intruded on marriage, which the Court described as “a coming together for better or for worse, hopefully enduring, and intimate to the degree of being sacred.” Seven years later, in Eisenstadt v. Baird, the Court extended the constitutional right to use birth control to unmarried couples.

By guaranteeing legal access to birth control, the Griswold decision opened the door for dramatic changes for women and for our society. As the Supreme Court has since observed, “The ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives.”  In fact, research has shown that availability of reliable birth control has been a key driver of the increases in U.S. women’s education, labor force participation, average earnings, and the narrowing in the wage gap between women and men achieved over recent decades. Read more »

Good News for Military Servicemembers Who Use Birth Control

The House of Representatives and Senate are currently working on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a bill that provides funds for the military. The bill includes provisions that support the health care needs for members of the Armed Services and their dependents.

This year, the House and Senate versions of the bill include provisions that would improve women servicemembers’ access to birth control. It provides for comprehensive counseling and education about contraception. And, the House bill would ensure a woman servicemember has access to the birth control she needs at all times, particularly when she is deployed. Read more »

Birth Control Without Costs: It's The Law

Here at NWLC, we are big fans of the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit because it removes cost barriers to birth control and has the potential to change women’s lives. Which is why the findings in our report, “State of Birth Control Coverage: Health Plan Violations of the Affordable Care Act,” are so troubling. While most women are getting coverage of birth control without out-of-pocket costs like the law requires, some insurance companies are not complying with the law. Some insurance companies charge women for their birth control, do not cover it at all, charge for services associated with the birth control, or place unallowable limits on the coverage. When we uncover these violations of the law, we know that women aren’t able to access their birth control method because of the cost barrier. Read more »