Democratic Women's Caucus Puts Forth Contraceptive Care Measures

'Prevention First' measures would improve access to health care
Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lansing - State Representative Marcia Hovey-Wright (Muskegon) and State Senator Rebekah Warren (Ann Arbor) today pressed for measures that would improve access health care and contraceptives for women, and reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies in Michigan. The Prevention First package of bills would require private health plans to offer the same level of coverage for contraceptives as they do for other prescriptions, require pharmacies to dispense Food and Drug Administration-approved medications, require insurance plans to cover annual Pap tests and require schools to offer comprehensive sex education.

“We’ve heard a lot lately about measures to limit women’s access to health care and contraception, and women have felt we are under attack,” Hovey-Wright said. “But instead of fighting each other on points where we differ, we should be working together to solve things we all agree are problems, such as cervical cancer and unplanned pregnancies.”

The measures put forth by Prevention First come as a cost savings to Michigan taxpayers. According to Planned Parenthood of Michigan, 53 percent of all pregnancies in Michigan are unintended, and 62 percent of births from unintended pregnancies are publicly funded, costing taxpayers $282 million annually. Similarly, annual Pap tests catch cancer in its early stages, leading to better outcomes for women and avoiding the need for costlier treatments for later stages of cancer.

“Supporting preventative care for women is common sense,” Warren said. “These are measures with broad support among Michigan residents. Rather than turning women’s health into a political game, we should be working together to pass legislation that will make a significant positive impact on the health and well-being of Michigan women.”

To support the passage of these proposals, Hovey-Wright and Warren will introduce a resolution calling for access to contraception without copays or cost-sharing, a measure supported by the federal Affordable Care Act.

Marcia LeVigne, a Michigan State University student who spoke in favor of the Prevention First proposals Tuesday, said she hopes the measures receive attention in the state Legislature.

“Access to women’s health care is vital to myself and all the other women in Michigan,” she said. “As taxpayers and voters, we are counting on legislators to do the right thing.”