Planned Parenthood President: Birth Control an ‘Economic Issue’

The head of Planned Parenthood told Fusion’s Alicia Menendez she’s glad the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case that could ultimately open the door for companies to deny insurance coverage of birth control to employees.

“I hope the Supreme Court will side with women,” Cecile Richards told Fusion’s Alicia Menendez on Wednesday.

The case centers around the crafting store Hobby Lobby. The company’s owners are Christian and say the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that privately held for-profit companies offer workers insurance coverage that includes contraception, goes against their religious beliefs.

They shouldn’t have to offer the insurance due to religious objections, the company argues. But Planned Parenthood and other advocacy organizations say contraception is a preventative care health issue, and express worry the case could open the door to denial of things like vaccines and mental health care.

It’s an “economic issue,” Richards said, because virtually every woman will use birth control at some point in her life. Until Obamacare, many struggled to afford it, she pointed out.

“It does open the door to basically allowing employers to decide what kinds of coverage they want to provide and what they don’t based on their own personal beliefs,” she added, “and we just think that’s not good for people’s health.”

Richards pointed out that many of today’s young men and women have “grown up in a country where abortion was always safe and legal and available. And that’s the incredible thing to me is that we are having a political debate over an issue that has been long-since settled.”

But young people, she thinks, are beginning to realize “these are rights that they can’t take for granted.”

Richards said she doesn’t know how the court will rule since they’ve “been all over the map,” but said that for women, “birth control is not a religious issue. This is a healthcare issue.”