8, 1999 2:59 PM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sandra Jordan 202-973-6395
Roger Rathman (212) 261-4652
Parenthood Urges Congress to Make Contraceptive Converage a Reality This Year
YORK - June 8 - Statement by Gloria Feldt President, Planned Parenthood Federation
Health plans must stop denying coverage for the everyday health care that most
women need for significant portions of their livesprescription birth control
methods. American women deserve an end to outdated discriminatory practices. This
should be the year that EPICC
(the Equity in Prescription Insurance and Contraceptive Coverage Act) becomes
There are no good reasons to oppose EPICConly political excuses. We can
no longer afford a style of politics that creates abortion battles over almost
every piece of legislation, while refusing votes on bills that would help women
prevent the need for abortion in the first place.
Preventing unintended pregnancy is the one thing most everyone agrees on, regardless
of feelings about abortion. Americans are frustrated by Washington’s partisan
battling and punitive attitudes. Passing EPICC would represent a solid first step
toward the kind of common ground approach most Americans yearn for.
Contraceptive coverage is a matter of simple fairness and common sense, with support
for it cutting across all political lines. A poll taken for Planned Parenthood
Federation of America by Lake, Snell, Perry & Associates in October found:
- Almost 75 percent of Americans surveyed supported requiring
health insurance policies to cover contraceptives just as they do other prescription
- More than 80 percent of pro-choice voters, independents, and
Democrats supported contraceptive coverage; and
- 56 percent of Republicans and 57 percent of voters identifying
themselves as "pro-life" supported contraceptive coverage.
The FDA approval of Viagra and its almost instantaneous insurance coverage exposed
the discrimination women face from insurers. This discrimination has left women
of reproductive age with 68 percent higher out-of-pocket medical costs than men.
Last year brought some progress at the federal level. Through the work of Rep.
Lowey (D-NY) and Senators Snowe (R-ME) and Reid (D-NV), we gained contraceptive
coverage for federal employees. We are also seeing a groundswell of support for
contraceptive coverage in the states. In 1998, Maryland was the first state to
enact contraceptive coverage. This year, we have seen laws pass in Connecticut,
Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada and Vermont and expect passage in California and
North Carolina as well. In total, legislation has been introduced in 34 states.
More Americans are making responsible choices and reducing our rate of unintended
pregnancy. Americans want this to be the year that the Congress makes the responsible
choice on contraceptive coverage. We thank Senators Snowe (R-ME) and Reid (D-NV),
and Representatives Greenwood (R-PA) and Lowey (D-NY) for their inspired leadership
on this issue.
Write your members of congress and urge them to support Contraceptive Equity legislation!
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