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Nancy Keenan

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Healthcare Stories the Supreme Court Needs to Read

Posted: 03/20/2012 10:07 am

Friday marks the two-year anniversary of President Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law.

This landmark piece of legislation brings 30 million Americans into a healthcare system that includes affordable family-planning services, better access to contraception, and maternity care. It represents one of the greatest advances for women's health in a generation.

But you don't have to take my word for it. Let's hear from some of the women who have already benefited from the health reform law, or who have a lot to gain when it's fully up and running.

Alison in Washington is now able to stay on her parents' insurance until she turns 26:

Thanks to the new health-care law, I was able to stay on my parents' health-insurance plan after college. If the law is repealed and I am no longer able to be on their health insurance, I don't know if I will be able to cover all of the costs for my health care.

Maggie in Georgia thinks about her daughter, who takes birth control for a serious medical condition:

My daughter has to take birth-control pills for severe polycystic ovary syndrome. Last year, she had to have surgery to remove two huge cysts from one of her ovaries and almost lost the ovary. If her insurance were not paying for the pills, she and her husband could not afford them.

Patricia in Missouri worries about losing her health insurance entirely:

If the health-care law were overturned it would mean that I wouldn't be able to change health-care providers because I have a "preexisting condition." I would be locked into my current carrier no matter how poor the service, or expensive it becomes. New companies would be able to deny me coverage. This is unfair!

These are the people who stand to lose if efforts to overturn the Affordable Care Act are successful.

Attacks on the health reform law are part of an ongoing campaign from anti-choice politicians to make it harder for women to get affordable health care.

We saw this in the recent debate over President Obama's policy to provide contraceptive coverage for women. The Senate narrowly rejected a measure that would have allowed bosses to deny birth-control coverage to their employees.

When a female law student, Sandra Fluke, dared to speak out in support of the president's contraceptive-coverage policy, radio personality Rush Limbaugh called her a "slut" and "prostitute."

Nearly as despicable as Limbaugh's comments was the reaction from many of the same politicians pushing attacks on birth control. Both of the leading Republican presidential candidates, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, refused to issue a stern rebuke of Limbaugh.

The attacks on the health reform law are targeting women in the same way as these legislative attacks and ugly rhetoric.

Next week, the Supreme Court will begin to hear three days of arguments from opponents who want to overturn the Affordable Care Act.

If the court strikes down this law, better coverage of prenatal care and contraceptives for millions of women could disappear. Insurance companies would go on charging women more money for health-care services than men, which The New York Times reported on yesterday.

The results would be devastating for women like Alison, Maggie, and Patricia.

That's why we must stand with President Obama and women across this country in supporting this important law.

NARAL Pro-Choice America will mobilize our supporters at the Supreme Court on Tuesday, March 27, the day on which healthcare advocates will focus on how the law helps women get affordable care.

Since these anti-choice politicians have decided to take their War on Women to the Supreme Court, we'll meet them at the steps.

 

Follow Nancy Keenan on Twitter: www.twitter.com/NARAL