The comment period for Obamacare’s birth control provision came to a close on Monday. According to a recent Sunlight Foundation analysis, that regulation — which seeks to help eliminate the gender-based disparity in health costs by requiring insurance companies to cover contraceptive services without a co-pay — was Obamacare’s most controversial provision, as more comments have been submitted to the Department of Health and Human Services regarding contraception than on any other aspect of the health reform law.
But not all of those comments came from conservative religious institutions taking issue with the Obamacare rule. In fact, a wide range of women’s health advocates — including Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Women’s Law Center, and the American Civil Liberties Union — submitted over 300,000 comments to HHS in support of Obamacare’s effort to expand access to affordable contraception. The hundreds of thousands of comments included messages of support from men and women in all 50 states, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards confirmed in a press release.
In addition to the HHS comments, Planned Parenthood has also collected stories from people in each state in the country explaining what Obamacare’s birth control provision means to them. Here are just a few of the things they said about the ways that guaranteed contraceptive coverage has changed their lives:
— DAMEON FROM GEORGIA: “It has served as the only way for my wife to manage her menstrual cycle. Also, when the time comes I would like it to be available and affordable for my daughter through whatever health insurance provider we are on.”
— ELIZABETH FROM KENTUCKY: “As a college student who uses contraceptives for hormone therapy, coverage without co-pays means that I can spend money on school instead of medication.”
— SARAH FROM MAINE: “For me, and for many women like me, this is not only a reproductive issue; it’s a basic health issue. Before going on birth control to regulate my cycle, I became desperately ill every month with headaches, nausea, and fainting. Birth control makes it possible for me to remain healthy and function in my everyday life, and I need healthcare coverage that makes it available and affordable.”
— MAGGIE FROM MICHIGAN: “I work full time and attend grad school. I have student loans to pay off. It is very important to my husband and me (both Catholic) to have access to birth control so that we can carefully plan for our future family. I also have a chronic illness and deal with daily pain issues. Birth control helps to make my cycle easier to handle with my existing condition.”
— CHRISTOPHER FROM NEW YORK: “My girlfriend and I are both public-school teachers in Harlem. Which means that while we’re devoted to educating the children of our community, rent prices are currently preventing us from being able to afford our own family. Birth control means that we can be better teachers now and better parents later.”
Read the rest of the stories from Americans across the country here.