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Court Denies Access to Powerful Preventive Tool: Contraception

June 30, 2014

Statement from Carmen Nevarez, MD, MPH, Vice President for External Relations and Preventive Medicine Advisor 

"The Public Health Institute decries today’s 5-4 decision from the Supreme Court, in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, which will deny some women the right to make their own medical decisions and deny them access to one of the most powerful preventative care and health tools we have: contraception.

"99% of US women use contraception at some point in their lives, and providing universal access to contraceptive care allows women to decide for themselves when and if to have children. We have seen, around the world and here in the US, that when women can afford and have access to contraceptive care, they have higher levels of education and more economic opportunity—not just for themselves, but for their families and children.

"Lack of insurance coverage for contraceptive care will have a disproportionate impact on low-income and younger women, as well as women of color, who may depend on health care insurance for affordable care. All people make choices based on economic circumstances, and those methods that are the safest and most effective may now be out of reach, leaving women to choose based on price rather than on efficacy or what may work best for them.

"Today’s court decision sets a dangerous precedent for health care and public health more broadly: A woman’s health care decisions should be made by a woman and her doctor, not by her employer."