North Carolina is advancing a measure that would effectively allow personal beliefs to trump women’s access to birth control. Under HB 730, employers in the state could decide not to include contraceptives in their workers’ insurance plans for any reason — a direct violation of the popular Obamacare provision that stipulates women should receive birth control coverage at no additional cost to them. But as lawmakers debate HB 730, women’s health advocates in the state want them to know they’re not willing to be dragged back to the 1960s without a fight.
“We love a good vintage look — but not when it’s running the state legislature,” the local Planned Parenthood affiliate explained in a press release. That’s why Planned Parenthood supporters dressed up in 1960s clothing to attend a House committee hearing about HB 730 on Wednesday.
The 1960s apparel is intended to communicate that state lawmakers are trying to turn back the clock to past decades, when women didn’t have the freedom to control their own reproductive decisions. Planned Parenthood raised awareness about HB 703 with a Mad Men-themed event in advance of the committee hearing, and then sent dozens of vintage-garbed supporters to Wednesday’s debate (all photos courtesy of Planned Parenthood Action Fund of Central North Carolina):
“We like watching Mad Men — but we don’t want to live in it,” Paige Johnson, the president of public affairs for the Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina, pointed out. “Women’s preventive care — including birth control — is basic health care. Politicians and bosses have no business denying women access to this basic health care. This shouldn’t be a revolutionary idea, but unfortunately it is to some.”
North Carolina lawmakers aren’t the only ones to consider a foray into 1960s-esque policies. Even though a similar law in Missouri allowing employers to deny birth control coverage was recently struck down by a federal judge, that hasn’t stopped other states from attempting the same method to restrict women’s access to affordable birth control.
And unfortunately for the women in North Carolina, this is hardly the only measure currently being considered in the legislature that could pose a threat to women’s health. State lawmakers are also considering including biased misinformation about abortion in sex ed classes, imposing unnecessary restrictions on abortion clinics that could force them to close, and forcing teens to get a notarized note from their parents before getting tested or treated for STDs.