On Friday, October 6, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued new rules impacting access to birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The administration released two rules: one offering an exemption based on religious beliefs, and a second offering an exemption based on moral beliefs.
These rules would allow college and university presidents, and board members to decide not to cover birth control if they have a religious or moral objection. This rule has the potential to have a far-reaching impact across the country and threatens birth control access for students that get their health care through college and university health plans. We, members of the University of Pittsburgh community, call on our administration to stand with other colleges and universities to affirm to employees and students that you will continue to provide coverage for birth control in the campus health insurance policy.
University of Pittsburgh needs to prove they trust young people to make decisions about their own health care and to have control and autonomy over their own bodies. University of Pittsburgh must reject this administration’s attempt to stigmatize birth control and limit young people’s health care options.
College students have limited incomes and many could not afford to pay for birth control out of pocket if their colleges decided to take away their basic health care. A 2010 Hart Research poll, conducted before the Affordable Care Act’s birth control provision went into effect, found that one in three women voters had struggled to afford prescription birth control, including 57 percent of young women aged 18 to 34.
According to the Guttmacher institute, being able to get the pill before age 21 has been found to be the most influential factor in enabling women already in college to stay in college. Birth control has been estimated to account for more than 30 percent of the increase in the proportion of women in skilled careers from 1970 to 1990.
Therefore, we the undersigned University of Pittsburgh student groups, students, faculty, and administrators strongly urge you to take immediate steps to ensure that the University of Pittsburgh's health insurance policy continues to cover birth control for all students, faculty, and staff who rely on that coverage to live full, complete, and healthy lives.
We call on you to express your support for access to birth control in the following ways:1. Send an email to your students and staff with your commitment to continue to provide access to their birth control coverage2. Issue a public statement
The University of Pittsburgh Community