On Tuesday, March 25, reproductive health advocacy fellow Dr. Lin-Fan Wang stood on the steps of the Supreme Court and joined colleague organizations and supporters in speaking out on the importance of birth control coverage:
We are here because women are at risk of losing access to birth control. Not because it isn’t safe. Not because it doesn’t work. But because somebody’s boss may not like it. That is bad policy and that is bad medicine.
Read the rest of her speech here. And share this graphic on Facebook and Twitter, using the hashtag #NotMyBossBusiness!
On Monday, Dr. Wang published an opinion piece on Talking Points Memo titled, “The Danger Of Giving Science And Religion Equal Weight On Birth Control Cases”:
When reporting on medical issues, weighing a religious belief as equal to scientific and medical evidence is disingenuous and confusing to the reader. And often there is no opportunity to correct misinformation. As a women’s health care provider, this disappoints and frustrates me.
On CNN.com, our board chair Dr. Nancy Stanwood coauthored an opinion piece with Dr. Jeanne A. Conry, president of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists:
As physicians dedicated to improving the health of women, we ask: Why is contraception still seen as controversial in the face of overwhelming evidence about its benefits? Why is birth control questioned, in this day and age, despite its widespread acceptance and use? In the current debate, science and facts are being drowned out by highly vocal and misinformed voices; as physicians, we must set the record straight.
Read the entire piece here.
As an OB-GYN and a patient advocate, I want to move the discussion out of the courts for a moment and into my clinic, to focus on the lives of women and their families. I feel an immense sense of responsibility to the women I care for, and part of that responsibility includes advocating for insurance coverage of birth control.
Another current fellow, Dr. Antoinette Danvers, published a letter to the editor in the New York Times:
Contraception is important for women’s health, freedom and equality. We have to protect women’s right to make their own decisions about contraception. I hope the Supreme Court agrees.
Yet another fellow, Dr. Luu Ireland, spoke to the Orange County Register (California) about the importance of contraception access for her own patients.
Our Reproductive Health Advocacy Fellow Dr. Lin-Fan Wang responds to the recent announcement of legislation introduced by Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM) in the House of Representatives. The Health Equity and Access Under the Law (HEAL) for Immigrant Women and Families Act (H.R. 4240) would increase immigrants’ eligibility for health insurance coverage and access to health care—including reproductive health services:
For too long, restrictions have put affordable health coverage out of reach for many immigrants authorized to live and work in the U.S. However, their tax dollars still support our health care system. It’s time to finally remove political interference and restore immigrants’ access to health coverage.
As doctors, we applaud Congresswoman Lujan Grisham for her leadership in introducing this critical bill. Health care barriers prevent immigrant women from accessing important health services and widen health disparities. Without coverage, immigrant women are likely to forgo sexual and reproductive health care, including prenatal visits, contraceptives, sexually transmitted infection screenings, breast-feeding support, and cancer screening, due to the high cost of care. Many of my colleagues and I care for immigrant women and families every day, and we have seen what happens when they cannot afford health care.
Dr. Luu Ireland of California recalls one patient, an elderly Latina woman who had not been able to afford surgery to repair her prolapsed uterus: “She had tried a traditional nonsurgical option—a pessary—but had difficulty finding one that fit. As a result, she’s in constant discomfort, and can’t walk or stand for long periods of time. This has had a long-term impact on her quality of life.”
Dr. Stephanie Long, who practiced in New Mexico, said: “I encountered patients every day without medical coverage because of their immigration status. Patients like Angelique, who opted for two prenatal visits—one at eight weeks to confirm pregnancy, and one at 32 weeks. Angelique would have liked more prenatal care, but she could barely afford even the subsidized clinic fees for those two appointments, let alone routine blood screen tests or ultrasounds. If we want healthy pregnancies, healthy families, and healthy children, we have to remove the unnecessary barriers that restrict care.”
The HEAL for Immigrant Women and Families Act would remove discriminatory restrictions on health coverage for lawfully present immigrants. As physicians who care for immigrant women and families every day, we look forward to working with Congress and our organizational partners to see that it is enacted.