July 21, 2011
Statement from Dr. Susan Wood Regarding IOM Report that Recommends Eight Additional Women’s Health Preventive Services for Coverage
Statement from Susan F. Wood, PhD
Associate Professor of Health Policy
Director, Jacob Institute of Women’s Health
The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services
Former Assistant Commissioner for Women’s Health, FDA
Women know that preventive services for women includes family planning. Today the IOM confirmed that contraception is prevention and is part of the prevention package that should be covered by all health care plans. By reducing co-pays and deductibles for women getting contraception, this will help women and couples plan their families, space their children, reduce unintended pregnancies, and promote better health for women and children. Preventing unintended pregnancies is the best way to prevent abortion.
Women spend decades of their lives trying to prevent pregnancy, and only a few years actually trying to get pregnant and having children. Making contraception affordable by eliminating co-pays and deductibles is common sense for millions of women and couples across the country – and a real benefit that women will see immediately in their pocketbooks. This coverage of contraception will truly help “Close the Gaps” for women.
Contraception is not controversial – except sometimes for politicians. But this should not be political; coverage of contraception should be based on the evidence as outlined by IOM, which shows that contraception for women is indeed safe and effective prevention. Along with well-woman visits and critical screening for gestational diabetes, STDs, domestic violence, and other important women’s health preventive services, the IOM report “Closing the Gaps” has helped ensure that women’s health counts when we talk about prevention. Women should not be blocked from these critical preventive services due to cost or political debate.