It's official: Birth control without co-pays

Today we have good news to share! The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) decided to eliminate costly birth control co-pays, and accepted other recommendations to improve women's health care, as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Add your name to a thank you letter we'll send to the Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, for accepting these medically-based recommendations and supporting no-cost contraception.

What does this mean for Latinas?

  • Improved screening for cervical cancer. The incidence of cervical cancer for Latina women in the United States is almost twice as high as non-Latina white women.
  • Services for pregnant women including screening for gestational diabetes, lactation counseling and equipment. Studies have shown that Latinas tend to choose breast-feeding more than other women.
  • Screening and counseling for all women and adolescent girls for interpersonal and domestic violence in a culturally sensitive and supportive manner. NLIRH’s work on reproductive justice issues shows that immigrant women and LGBTQ persons may not report interpersonal violence and may not seek medical attention for fear of harassment or racism.

It's a remarkably different set of priorities to make being healthy the goal of healthcare, rather than simply treating illness. These expanded benefits are welcome news for millions of Latinas and their families as they seek to plan and space their pregnancies, keep their pregnancies healthy, keep their infants healthy, or prevent deadly cancers and illness.

We do have concern, however, about HHS’s decision to include an exception from this landmark ruling for religious employers. Beliefs about prescription contraceptives are personal ones. A woman should not be cut off from her ability to access legitimate medical and professional services based on the religious beliefs of her institutional employers. We look forward to working with HHS more on this issue.

We hope you continue to join us as we work to eliminate health disparities among Latinas and other women of color. Preventive care for all women produces better health outcomes for all and ensures that access to quality health care is a human right.

We thank the thousands of people who participated in our 2010 Latina Week of Action and our Birth Control: Nuestra Salud, Nuestra Prevención campaign that focused on this issue.