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Excluding family planning from insurance is discrimination

Posted: April 2, 2012 - 12:00am

The League of Women Voters grew out of the long fight to win women the right to vote and has been advocating for the rights of all citizens for more than 90 years. In 1992, League members across the nation studied health care policy, and out if that study came a commitment to work for access to quality health care for all regardless of gender. The League also has a strong commitment and belief that public policy in a diverse society must affirm the right of individuals to make their own reproductive choices.

That’s why the League is so deeply concerned about recent proposals that would allow employers and health plans to block family planning services and, by doing so, discriminate against women. Women know that making their own reproductive choices is an essential part of their health care.

By a narrow margin, the U.S. Senate recently defeated an amendment that would limit access to family planning services for women if any employer or insurance plan has an undefined “religious or moral objection” to it. This open-ended invitation to cut back on preventive health care services would turn back the clock not only for women but also for American society.

We understand that not everyone agrees with the League on this subject. But we strongly believe that public institutions, including schools and hospitals that receive substantial federal assistance, should not limit the health care choices available to their employees. Institutions that serve the public at large should not impose their own views but should respect the conscientious decisions of each individual.

The League of Women Voters believes that all persons, regardless of gender, should be eligible for preventive health services. Allowing employers to exclude family planning services is discrimination based on sex, and it’s wrong.

Judy Andree, President

League of Women Voters of Juneau

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