OCRFA believes that all women should have access to oral contraceptives, which have been shown to reduce a women’s risk of developing ovarian cancer by as much as 50 percent when taken for five or more years. For women at high risk of developing ovarian cancer, oral contraceptives offer one of the few ways to reduce risk outside of undergoing a prophylactic salpingo-oophorectomy. We do not support any proposal which would decrease a woman’s access to these potentially lifesaving drugs.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandated that all health insurance plans must cover oral contraceptives for women at no out of pocket cost. OCRFA applauds this and any decision that removes barriers to women accessing the preventative care they need, particularly as oral contraceptives can dramatically decrease a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer.
Several for-profit companies brought suit against the Department of Health and Human Services, alleging that the requirement that they cover birth control in the employer-sponsored health care plans they offer violates their religious freedom. The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance submitted an amicus brief to the Court asserting the right of women to access oral contraceptives based on their ability to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer Despite these efforts, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of corporations in the cases Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Burwell in June 2014.
The Obama administration quickly detailed a contraception mandate in response to the lost contraceptive coverage as a result of these rulings, to make sure contraception remains free to as many women as possible. The new mandate allows for 3rd-party inszurance coverage of contraception for women whose employers refuse to cover the benefit due to religious objections. This mandate was issued in July 2015 and effectively covers all women unless they are employed by a place of worship.
- In 2014, we authored an amicus brief to the Supreme Court regarding access of oral contraceptives for prevention of ovarian cancer.
- In 2013, we submitted amicus briefs in two other oral contraceptive cases heard by the 11th Circuit Court of the United States – Beckwith Electric Co. v. Sebelius and Gilardi v. Sebelius.