June 7 marks the 49th anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling in Griswold v. Connecticut, which found that married couples have the right to contraception. The anniversary comes as the Supreme Court is set to decide whether bosses can deny their employees birth control coverage simply based on their personal beliefs.
Many of the gains women have made since 1965 — in timing and spacing our children, and also in obtaining education, entering the workforce, and moving closer to pay equity — are the direct result of the Griswold case protecting access to birth control. Plus, access to birth control has ushered in a generation of healthier women and families.
This much can be seen in Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota's birth control report, which details not only how birth control helps women and children, but also how access to birth control helps the economy. Did you know for every $1 spent on increasing birth control access, Minnesotan taxpayers save $4 in the short term and $15 over 5 years? Truly, when women can afford to choose a birth control that fits their needs, everyone wins.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, birth control is now covered as part of the preventive benefit, without co-pay. Now, nearly 50 years after the landmark Griswold ruling, will the Supreme Court turn back the clock, taking personal decisions from women and putting them in the hands of their bosses?
Birth control access lies at the heart of two cases currently being considered by the Supreme Court — brought by bosses that want to be able to impose their personal beliefs on all of their employees. These beliefs are outside the mainstream (polling shows the public supports the birth control benefit at a two-to-one margin) and go against science (these companies believe certain types of birth control induce abortion, which is patently untrue).
Planned Parenthood knows first-hand how important it is that women be able to get the method of birth control that works for them, without hurdles and without cost being a barrier. We've already seen what good the ACA's birth control benefit can do, saving women more than $483 million in out-of-pocket costs in 2013, and we don't want to see that progress undone for anyone, anywhere.
We still don't know how the Supreme Court will rule, but as the nation's leading women's health care provider and advocate, Planned Parenthood celebrates the Affordable Care Act and will continue its work to ensure that every woman — no matter where she lives or who her boss is — has access to its benefits.
HOLLY HARRISON, WEB EDITOR AND SOCIAL MEDIA COORDINATOR