Why Affordable Care Matters for Women

Given that the Affordable Care Act remains a political football more than three years after it was signed into law, I thought I’d share easily understandable information about how and why it has been described as “the single biggest advancement in women’s health in a generation.”

I’ve written about why this law is important for women before, and discussed some of the religious and political opposition to it last summer:

And yet, the bishops are unhappy.  Because they’ve not yet been able to prevent all women from using birth control.  To be clear, the bishops have failed to convince Catholic women to use birth control, so they have moved on to impede the rest of us from exercising our religious freedom and conscience.

The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice issued a statement supporting and celebrating today’s advances here.  Put simply, leaders of many faiths “celebrate this victory for women’s health and reproductive justice in this country.”

This infographic sums up the many ways that women in particular benefit from access to affordable and preventative healthcare.  So the next time you hear someone railing about repealing and defunding this program, consider what will be lost:


About Caryn Riswold

Caryn D. Riswold is a feminist theologian in the Lutheran tradition. She is Professor of Religion and also teaches Gender and Women’s Studies at Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois, where she has worked for over a decade teaching undergraduates to think critically and creatively about religion. She earned her Ph.D. and Th.M. from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, holds a master’s degree from the Claremont School of Theology, and received her B.A. from Augustana College in her childhood hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

  • Steve

    I have to scratch my head at the false historical narrative persented on this issue. The Catholic Bishops were not fighting a war to ban contraception in America. They were saying Catholic business owners shouldn’t be forced against their will to buy it for their employees. Who is forcing who to disobey their conscience again?

    Not buying contraception for someone doesn’t prevent that person from using it. My employer doesn’t buy pay my Netflix subscription, that doesn’t mean I can’t have Netflix. It just means I have to act like an adult, be willing to pay for my lifestyle choices, and buy it myself. The horror!

    My wife WAS covered under my healthcare plan. But thanks to the increased costs in the “Affordable Care Act” my company had to ditch its family plans. Now my wife will have to settle for the subpar coverage offered by her employer.

    • Kubricks_Rube

      Business owners are not being forced to buy contraception for their employees. They are required to provide a minimal standard of health insurance as part of their employees’ compensation package. How those employees use their own compensation should be up to those employees and their consciences and not pre-vetoed by the employers.

      Further, the EEOC ruled back in 2000 that providing prescription coverage without providing contraception coverage violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act:

      Respondents must cover the expenses of prescription contraceptives to the same extent, and on the same terms, that they cover the expenses of the types of drugs, devices, and preventive care identified above. Respondents must also offer the same coverage for contraception-related outpatient services as are offered for other outpatient services. Where a woman visits her doctor to obtain a prescription for contraceptives, she must be afforded the same coverage that would apply if she, or any other employee, had consulted a doctor for other preventive or health maintenance services.

      Are you comfortable granting exemptions to the Civil Rights Act based on claims of conscience? That is a dangerous precedent to set.

      • Steve

        Imagine I was forced to buy a satellite service for my employees, and it was mandated that this satellite service must contain pornography. A sensible person would recognize that I’m being forced to buy pornography for my employees.

        Only an ideologue would say, “No no no, he’s only being forced to buy a minimum satellite service! Whether the employee uses it for pornography is his own business. See? We’re not forcing anyone to violate their conscience. Don’t listen to those nasty, greedy employers. They are trying to ban pornography!”

        If secularists want to twist the law to trample the religious liberty of conscientious Catholics, that’s fine. I only wish they’d be a bit more honest when doing so, instead of saying through a Cheshire Cat grin, “Ohhh… you wouldn’t want to be discriminatory, would you? You know that’s against the law…”