2011 was a tough year for women's health advocates. It felt like every week was a battle with Republicans across the country to protect the rights women hold so dear. During these battles, such as the one for defunding Planned Parenthood, President Obama has stood strong with women's health advocates and protected women against the Republicans who were trying to stop us from moving forward.
On January 20th, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a ruling that required nearly all employers to offer contraceptive coverage and preventive care. By August 2012, most health insurance plans will include contraceptive coverage with no co-pay -- a blessing for any poor college student. The Obama Administration and other faith-based organizations have negotiated a deal to allow religious institutions to have an additional year to comply with the Affordable Care Act regulations. This seems fair and as a Catholic woman I understand the action as one of respect towards the Catholic Church's teachings.
HHS's decision will help millions of women, sexually active or not. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 14 percent of pill users use the pill for exclusively for non-contraceptive purposes. Access to contraceptives is a public health issue. Birth control, the most prescribed medication for young and middle-aged women, should be covered with no co-pay because it is has significant health benefits when used. Access to contraceptives is a public health issue.
When I am looking for a candidate that stood by women and fought for access to birth control, Barack Obama will be my candidate. Mitt Romney's political career has been a stem of bad policies about women. Romney is too concerned with the 1%, and not concerned enough about making health care more affordable for everyone. From vetoing a bill to require hospitals to offer emergency contraceptives to rape victims to proposing to the support of personhood amendments (sometimes), Romney is not a friend to women. When women are looking for a friend in health, Barack Obama has filled that role with ease.
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