While many are calling Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling a triumph for the Obama Administration, the decision to uphold the heart of the Affordable Care Act also marks a major milestone for women’s health.
The decision is a win for reproductive health organizations, such as Planned Parenthood, that have been an easy target in the recent attacks on organizations that provide abortions.
Women’s health activists lauded the 5-4 Supreme Court ruling as the “greatest achievement” for reproductive health in a generation.
“Affordable, quality health care will now be available to millions of women who had no coverage or inadequate coverage before. Today, we are closer than ever to realizing the promise of health care for all,” president of Planned Parenthood Cecile Richards said in a statement.
Activists, too, dotted the vicinity of the Supreme Court, hoisting signs and banners that called for the end to the “war on women,” in triumph.
Under the provision, come August, there will no longer be a co-pay for birth control, cancer screenings and a slew of preventive services, ensuring millions of women receive basic care.
Though religious institutions and conservative organizations have blasted the health reform law for compelling employers to cover birth control – an act that contradicts the tenants of their religion and beliefs – the Supreme Court decision extends beyond free contraception.
The act will eliminate discriminatory practices in the health insurance market, washing away higher premiums and denial of coverage for gender-related pre-existing conditions. Maternity coverage will also be mandated for all.
The decision is a landmark decision for women’s health and a rare opportunity to redefine a women’s right to basic care.
While the decisive win doesn’t necessarily mark the end of the unrelenting war on reproductive care, it’s a battle won.