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Quality Health Care for Women Includes Contraceptive Equity

Women must have the right to quality health care, including equal access to contraception, and have the ability to exercise that right regardless of where they work, the AFL-CIO Executive Council said in a statement today at its annual winter meeting in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

The council reaffirmed a 2001 Convention resolution promoting contraceptive equity in national health plans and in collective bargaining agreements, saying Wednesday that all women "should have universal access to quality health care at a reasonable cost that is not determined by political agendas. The Affordable Care Act provides that women will receive preventative health care benefits, including FDA-approved methods of birth control, without co-pays or deductibles. Efforts are being taken that would eliminate or restrict a women’s ability to access these benefits, thus limiting their ability to maintain their health and that of their families."

According to the council's statement:

With the unprecedented attacks on workers’ rights, women have been disproportionately affected. However, the attacks have now gone beyond the consideration of legislative and policy debates. The denial of contraceptive coverage is seen as discrimination against women and an attack on workers’ right to basic health coverage. The right to quality health care has deteriorated into an attack on the character of women who want nothing more than to have a personal decision in the matter. Contraception is not only important in helping women and men plan their families, it is also used to treat or prevent many health conditions that affect women, including reducing their risk of developing ovarian and endometrial cancers.

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