Wednesday, November 5, 2008

If the President-Elect Can Talk About It, We Can Talk About It Too

Barak Obama, our new president-elect, co-sponsored the HR 1709 [109th]: Prevention First Act in the Senate during the 2007-2008 Legislative Session, a bill which seeks to expand access to preventative health care services that reduce unintended pregnancies, reduce the number of abortions, and improve access to women’s health care. President-Elect Obama talked openly about issues regarding women’s reproductive healthcare during the campaign, concentrating on reducing unintended pregnancies. This bodes well for the future of issues covered in the Prevention First Act.

Yesterday’s election is promising for those of us committed to starting community conversations about how we improve access to birth control and reproductive health services for adult women. If our next president can talk about it, so should we.

HR 1709 [109th]: Prevention First Act Summary: The bill includes provisions to:

  • Increase access to family planning services through the national family planning program (Title X) and allow states to expand Medicaid family planning services to women with incomes up to 200 % of the federal poverty level.

  • Ensure that private health plans offer the same level of coverage for contraception as they do for other prescription drugs and services.

  • Ensure that women who survive sexual assault receive factually accurate information about emergency contraception (EC) and access to EC upon request.

  • Support state-level comprehensive sexuality education programs that include medically accurate information about abstinence, contraception, and disease prevention.

  • Implement important public education initiatives about EC and its benefits and uses to women and medical providers.

  • Enable competitive grants to public and private entities working to establish or expand teen pregnancy prevention programs.

  • Require that all information provided about the use of contraception as part of any federally funded program is medically accurate and includes accurate information.

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