FACT CHECK: President Obama Is Expanding Access To Contraception, Protecting Religious Liberty

Contrary to what Congressman Ryan said tonight, President Obama was able to expand women’s access to contraception while protecting religious liberty by exempting churches and religiously-affiliated organizations from paying for contraceptive coverage. Mitt Romney and Congressman Ryan, on the other hand, would put women’s health care decisions in the hands of their employers. And Congressman Ryan has repeatedly stood with Todd Akin and extreme Republicans in Congress to restrict women’s access to contraception.

THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION PUT IN PLACE RULES THAT WILL ENSURE WOMEN CAN RECEIVE COVERAGE FOR CONTRACEPTION WHILE RESPECTING THE BELIEFS OF RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS

UNDER THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT, INSURERS WILL COVER CONTRACEPTION AND OTHER RECOMMENDED PREVENTIVE SERVICES FOR WOMEN  WITH NO OUT-OF-POCKET COSTS

Starting August 1, 2012, Under Obama Administration Health Care Guidelines, All FDA-Approved Forms Of Contraception Will Be Covered By Most New And Renewed Health Plans Without A Co-Pay Or Deductible. “Today the department is announcing that the final rule on preventive health services will ensure that women with health insurance coverage will have access to the full range of the Institute of Medicine’s recommended preventive services, including all FDA -approved forms of contraception.  Women will not have to forego these services because of expensive co-pays or deductibles, or because an insurance plan doesn’t include contraceptive services. This rule is consistent with the laws in a majority of states which already require contraception coverage in health plans, and includes the exemption in the interim final rule allowing certain religious organizations not to provide contraception coverage. Beginning August 1, 2012, most new and renewed health plans will be required to cover these services without cost sharing for women across the country.” [Department of Health and Human Services, 1/20/12]

AN ESTIMATED 47 MILLION WOMEN WILL GAIN ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE PREVENTIVE SERVICES, INCLUDING CONTRACEPTION, THANKS TO THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

The Department Of Health And Human Services Estimates That Thanks To The Affordable Care Act, 47 Million Women Will Receive Access To Contraception And Seven Other Preventive Services Without A Co-Pay Or Deductible. According to a Department of Health and Human Services report: “Based on the most recent data from the Census Bureau, we estimate that under the Affordable Care Act, approximately 47 million women will have guaranteed access to these additional preventive services without cost-sharing for policies renewing on or after August 1, 2012.[4] These services include well-woman visits, screening for gestational diabetes, HPV DNA testing, domestic violence screening and counseling, HIV screening and counseling for sexually transmitted infections, breastfeeding supplies, contraceptive methods and family planning counseling.” [Department of Health and Human Services, 7/31/12]

  • According To A 2010 Survey, 55 Percent Of Women Ages 18 To 34 Have Struggled With The Cost Of Prescription Birth Control. “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. … 55 percent of women 18–34 have struggled with the cost of prescription birth control.” [Planned Parenthood, 10/12/10]

THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION’S DECISION DOES NOT REQUIRE RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS TO PAY FOR, PRESCRIBE, OR PROVIDE CONTRACEPTIVES

The Obama Administration’s Health Care Guidelines On Contraception Exempts Churches And Houses Of Worship From Covering Contraception, And Will Require Insurers To Cover Contraception If A Religiously-Affiliated Organization Objects To Providing Coverage. “Today, the Obama Administration will publish final rules in the Federal Register that: Exempts churches, other houses of worship, and similar organizations from covering contraception on the basis of their religious objections. Establishes a one-year transition period for religious organizations while this policy is being implemented. The President will also announce that his Administration will propose and finalize a new regulation during this transition year to address the religious objections of the non-exempted non-profit religious organizations. The new regulation will require insurance companies to cover contraception if the religious organization chooses not to. Under the policy: Religious organizations will not have to provide contraceptive coverage or refer their employees to organizations that provide contraception. Religious organizations will not be required to subsidize the cost of contraception. Contraception coverage will be offered to women by their employers’ insurance companies directly, with no role for religious employers who oppose contraception.” [White House Fact Sheet, 2/10/12]

ROMNEY SUPPORTS THE BLUNT AMENDMENT WHICH WOULD ALLOW ANY EMPLOYER TO OPT OUT OF PROVIDING CONTRACEPTIVE COVERAGE – PUTTING AT RISK THE NEARLY 79 MILLION WOMEN WHO RELY ON THEIR EMPLOYER FOR HEALTH CARE

Romney Endorsed The Blunt Amendment Which Would Allow Employers To “Have Free Rein To Pick And Choose Your Medical Care As He Or She Saw Fit--So If The Boss Believed That Birth Control Were An Affront To God And Nature, Well, Too Bad For You.”  “And yet, just weeks after Obama announced the compromise, Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) proposed legislation that would allow any employer or insurance company to decline to cover any medical care for any moral or religious reason. Under the law, your boss would have free rein to pick and choose your medical care as he or she saw fit--so if the boss believed that birth control were an affront to God and nature, well, too bad for you; you'd have to shell out the full monthly cost for your pill pack. The Blunt Amendment (which Romney endorsed) was blocked in the Senate with an extremely narrow margin--51 to 48--with Maine's Olympia Snowe (who announced around the same time that she would not be seeking reelection) the only Republican voting against it.” [Gretchen Voss, Women’s Health, September 2012]

Nearly 79 Million Women Received Health Care Coverage Through Their Employer.  According to the most recent census data, 78.8 million women under the age of 65 received health insurance coverage from their employer. [U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 2011

RYAN SUPPORTS A SIMILAR BILL IN THE HOUSE

Ryan On The HHS Contraception Mandate: Romney-Ryan Administration “Will Void This Right Away.” Q: “As a Roman Catholic priest and -- Catholics in particular and religious people in general are worried about the erosion of religious liberty in this country. What can we expect from a Romney-Ryan ticket?” REP. RYAN: “Look, I didn't set it -- as you probably know, I'm a Catholic as well. And -- (inaudible, applause) -- when I read this ruling, I was horrified. President Obama, through his imposition of ‘Obamacare,’ through this rule from the Department of Health and Human Services, is requiring Catholic churches, charities, hospitals to violate their own conscience, their own tenets. This is the First Amendment to the Constitution -- religious liberty, freedom of conscience. This is the First Amendment to our Constitution. I will tell you this. This will not stand in a Mitt Romney administration. Mitt Romney will respect religious liberty, and we will void this right away. We should not have to sue our own government to protect our religious freedoms. That's what our church is doing right now. We will not do this.” [Ryan Remarks in Cincinnati, Ohio, 9/25/12]