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FL Women Speak Out Against Repeal of Affordable Care Act:  “Being a woman is not a preexisting condition”

TAMPA BAY, FL – Late last week, Know Your Care, Service Employee International Union (SEIU), and Florida’s Community Health Action Information Network (CHAIN) jointly sponsored a teleconference to discuss the importance of all women having affordable access to comprehensive health care, including preventive health care services and contraceptives.

Laura Goodhue, the executive director of CHAIN stated, “It’s an emotional issue.”  

Ms. Darden Rice of Know Your Care was first to add her voice in favor of unrestricted women’s health care. She asserted that far too many women have been struggling to cover the costs of these important services. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) would ease the financial burden by ensuring that insurance companies would be unable to discriminate against women by charging them for contraception. She said, “Affordable access to birth control causes declines in maternal and infant mortality, reduces the risk of ovarian cancer, and links positively to overall good health.”  Because of the ACA,  she added, “More than 800,000 women and men who work at more than 335,000 Catholic-affiliated hospitals will have secure and reliable access to affordable treatment for illnesses as well as for contraception.”

Next up was registered nurse, Denise Glass, who is employed at the Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, and who is a representative of SEIU.  She explained that female hormone therapy was used for a variety of women’s ailments and she pointed out that 82% of teens were using doctor-prescribed hormone therapy for non-contraceptive purposes. 

R.N.  Glass acknowledged that some people were concerned that use of the “pill” would result in a declining population.

According to the US Census, in 1960 the population of the USA was 180,671,158.  In mid 2011, the population was 311,800,000.

R.N. Glass concluded her comments by stating, “As of 2011, many people are using the pill, but are not sexually active.”

Amanda Lipole, a law student at the University of Miami, offered her own experience as evidence to the importance of affordable birth control.  Ms Lipole said she is a Catholic with great respect for the Church.

She said that because of a change in her health insurance, her copayment for a NuvaRing went from $10 to $50, a price unaffordable to her.  She explained it became a choice of eating or contraceptives and that in spite of being satisfied with the NuvaRing she was forced to change to a generic form of hormonal birth control.

Ms. Glass rejoined the conversation. She said, “Without the ACA, it would become a choice of staying healthy or saving money.”

She added that while the debate had been focused on women, the repealing of the ACA would also affect men, since family planning is usually a choice made jointly by both men and women.

Results of a recent poll showed that 40% of teenage males would be upset if the female partner conceived.

Ms. Debbie King of the Consumer Action Network said, "There is no credible argument against contraceptives... and women still have a long way to go to obtain equality.”  She gave two examples:  women are still earning only 75% of what men in the same positions are earning; more single senior women live in poverty compared to single senior men. 

“Women need to have control over their own bodies,” said Denise Glass.

Darden Rice added, “It was wrong for insurance companies to consider being a woman as a preexisting condition.”

Updated Feb 13, 2012  10:09 am: minor grammatical errors

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