Birth control decisions are private medical decisions

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As an obstetrician-gynecologist, I agree with this paper’s editorial board that the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby is deeply troubling (“Not a Prayer: Women’s Rights Get Short Shrift in Hobby Lobby Case,” July 1). I fear that allowing certain corporations to deny their employees insurance coverage for specific contraceptive methods will have serious consequences for women’s ability to access the health care they need.

Contraception is a critical component of women’s preventive health care that benefits not only women but also their children and families. As a physician, I support the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage rule because I know firsthand how important it is that women have access to the full range of Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive methods.

Every woman needs to be able to choose the birth control method that is medically appropriate for her. For example, some of my patients can use only non-hormonal contraception, which means that for them the highly effective copper IUD is the best option. Without insurance coverage for IUDs, however, many women could not afford this method because, as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg correctly pointed out in her dissent: “The cost of an IUD is nearly equivalent to a month’s full-time pay for workers earning the minimum wage.”

Choosing a birth control method is a private medical decision a woman makes in consultation with her health care provider, not her employer. This Supreme Court decision should be troubling to all Americans.


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