National Consumers League

National Consumers League to HHS nominee: ‘Maintain women’s access to free contraception’

January 23, 2017

Contact: NCL Communications, Cindy Hoang, cindyh@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC—The nation’s pioneering consumer advocacy group is today calling on Congressman Tom Price, a doctor and President Trump’s nominee for Health and Human Services Secretary (HHS), who appeared before the Senate in confirmation hearings last week and will again tomorrow, to drop his insistence that women should have to pay for contraception.

“The facts are in: because of increased and free access to contraception, the U.S. abortion rate has declined 14 percent between 2011 and 2014 and well over 60 percent of the decline in the number of abortions occurred in states without new restrictions,” said Sally Greenberg, executive director of the National Consumers League (NCL), which has advocated on women’s health issues since its founding in 1899. “The Congressman is out of touch with the economic realities facing women.”

Reports cite a 2012 interview with Price by Think Progress reporter Scott Keyes, in which the reporter asked Price: “One of the main sticking points is whether or not contraceptive coverage is going to be covered under health insurance plans and at hospitals and whether they’re going to be able to pay for it, especially low-income women … where do we leave these women if this rule is rescinded?” Price’s response: “Bring me one woman who has been left behind. Bring me one. There’s not one. The fact of the matter is this is a trampling on religious freedom and religious liberty in this country.”

“Congressman Price has his head in the sand. Providing girls and women with highly effective contraceptive methods that are free and universally available is the best way to reduce rates of unintended pregnancy and abortion, a goal we all share," said Greenberg.   

According to a new report from the Alan Guttmacher Institute, U.S. abortion rates reached a record low in 2014, for the first time falling below its level in 1973—the year abortion became legal nationwide. Anti-abortion groups and policymakers often claim credit for reduced incidence of abortion due to restrictions on access, but the facts prove otherwise: among the 28 states and the District of Columbia that did not have major new restrictions in effect, all but three saw abortion declines in 2011–2014, and combined they accounted for 62 percent of the total decline in the number of U.S. abortions. This follows another decline in abortion during the 2008–2011 period, which was driven entirely by a steep drop in unintended pregnancy, which in turn was explained by improved contraceptive use.

“The Guttmacher Report shows no clear pattern linking restrictions and declines in abortion incidence,” said Greenberg.

Greenberg also stated, “We call upon Congressman Price to maintain women’s access to free contraception and the other preventive services covered under the Affordable Care Act. The nominee for this critically important HHS post should work to preserve and improve women’s health, not roll back the clock.”

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About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America's pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.