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The Road to No-Cost Birth Control

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We mark one of the biggest advancements in women's health this week. Beginning Wednesday, August 1st, women's preventative health care will be more accessible and more affordable, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Among many of the first phase benefits, the law requires insurance companies to start covering contraception without a copay for some women.

This means two things:

  1. We couldn't have won this huge advancement for women's health without pro-choice President Obama in the White House.
  2. Anti-choice groups and politicians are up in arms opposing near-universal birth-control coverage for women.

Our opponents are so outraged, they have been trying to derail this policy for months.

The road no-cost birth control has definitely has definitely been bumpy. Let's go back in time for a second.

Who could forget the all-male panel on birth control? Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) held a hearing attacking contraceptive coverage that featured an all-male panel. He refused to allow Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke to testify because she was "unqualified."

Then we faced the Blunt amendment. It would've let the owner of a fast-food joint or any business deny employees insurance plans that cover birth control. Thankfully the amendment was defeated in the U.S. Senate.

But our opponents didn't let this set them back. Instead, they carried through with an anti-choice measure on the ballot in North Dakota that also would have allowed employers who oppose contraception to deny such coverage to their employees.

The voters of North Dakota would not be silenced about their distaste for the measure, and they rejected it by a 64 to 32 percent margin.

Within weeks of this pro-choice win, the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act and ensured that millions of Americans would have access to affordable care and birth-control coverage.

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With this official stamp of approval, you might have assumed that the anti-birth control campaign would back down. But to the contrary, the anti-choice political machine reared its head and came down even harder on choice.

To date, we face 24 lawsuits and seven bills in Congress challenging the contraceptive-coverage policy.

So what's next?

NARAL Pro-Choice America and our state affiliates are pushing back against these attacks on contraceptive coverage through national and regional media channels, online advocacy, and grassroots events throughout the month of August.

And you can get involved!

Sens. Mark Begich (D-AK), Patty Murray (D-WA), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and other Senators will host a tele-town hall to inform constituents about the benefits that start kicking in on August 1.

Date: Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Time: 3:00 p.m. ET RSVP and get the exact time of the call by emailing CAN@prochoiceamerica.org

And if you live in St. Paul, Minnesota; Concord, New Hampshire; Columbus, Ohio; or Richmond, Virginia, we hope you join us in-person on August 1.

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In partnership with our state affiliates, we are organizing local events to stop these attacks. Send us an email with your name and the city you live in, and we'll get you details.

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