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Latino Daily News

Sunday January 22, 2012

National Latina Institute Applauds Obama Decision to Uphold Birth Control Coverage

National Latina Institute Applauds Obama Decision to Uphold Birth Control Coverage

Photo: Latinas and Birth Control

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This week, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) celebrated the Obama Administration’s decision to require that health plans cover preventive health care, including birth control, with no co-pays.

“We applaud President Obama’s decision to reject an enormous and harmful expansion that would have denied coverage for birth control for millions of women,” said Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of NLIRH. “We talked with Latina women around the country, and they are overwhelmingly in support of contraceptive coverage; no matter where they fall on the political spectrum.”

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued the standard earlier this year after the nonpartisan Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommended birth control be covered as a women’s preventive service and therefore offered with no co-pays under the new Affordable Care Act. Some organizations and lawmakers, however, wanted the Obama administration to add an enormous, harmful, wide-reaching exemption to this rule.

This decision directly impacts nearly one million people (and their dependents) who work at Catholic hospitals, as well as approximately 2 million students and workers at religiously affiliated universities. That’s millions of American workers who will soon gain a benefit that finally makes an essential health care service affordable.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, 50% of women age 18-34, including Latinas, say there has been a time when cost of prescription birth control interfered with their ability to use it consistently.

Research conducted by NLIRH also shows that Latinas want the full range of birth control options available to them. And birth control use is nearly universal in the United States: 99 percent of sexually experienced women will have used birth control at some point in their lives, including 98 percent of sexually experienced Catholic women.

In November, the National Latina Institute and 20 other local and national organizations that advocate for Latinos issued a letter to President Obama urging him to “reject efforts that put the preferences of insurance companies and employers over the right of women to make their own contraceptive health decisions in consultation with their doctors.”