Feldman: By restoring college and community clinics’ access to affordable birth control, we can provide an essential tool in preserving women’s health to populations that desperately need it.
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Washington, DC | March 2, 2008 - In response to the continued delay in restoring access to affordable birth control to college students and low-income women, Rabbi Marla Feldman, Director of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
The Reform Movement’s effort to prod Congress into passing the Prevention Through Affordable Access Act is part of our long, proud history of supporting women’s reproductive health. As part of the Religious Action Center’s Save Birth Control Advocacy Week, Reform Jews across the country will be asking their members of Congress to pass quickly the Prevention Through Affordable Access Act (S. 2347 / H.R. 4054). This bill would restore college students’ and low-income women’s access to affordable birth control by fixing the error in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, which inadvertently made all college health centers and over 400 community clinics ineligible to receive low-cost birth control from pharmaceutical companies. As a result, the millions of women these clinics serve have had to pay up to 900% more for the medications they need.
Many of these women are unable to rely on insurance coverage, either because they do not have health insurance, cannot afford even the insurance co-pay or are covered by a family plan and do not want to consult their parents about obtaining their medication. Health care professionals fear that the impact of this legislative error will be a rise in unintended pregnancies among college-age and low-income women.
Jewish tradition teaches not only that women must care for their own health and bodies, but also that it is the responsibility of the entire community, not just a patient and doctor, to provide health care. By restoring college and community clinics’ access to affordable birth control, we can provide an essential tool in preserving women’s health to populations that desperately need it. The government has already had over a year to fix this mistake; it is time for Congress to prioritize women’s health.
At a time when so many of the decisions our government faces are costly, complex and controversial, ensuring that our nation’s women can afford the medications they need to protect their health and well-being is a simple and common-sense measure that will have a positive effect on the lives of millions.