Budget Blog

This week, in response to the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby ruling, Chairman Murray and Democrats are moving forward with the Not My Boss’s Business Act to ensure that women can make their own health care decisions. The Not My Boss’s Business Act, which takes critical steps to protect women’s ability to control their own health care, is not only the right thing to do—it is also an important part of helping women and their families achieve economic security.

Having access to contraceptives empowers women to plan their families and pursue their educational and career goals on their terms. A 2011 Guttmacher Institute study showed that contraception access is a critical component of economic empowerment for women. The study found that 77 percent of women said that access allowed them to take better care of themselves and their families, while 64 percent said that it helped them to get or keep their jobs and careers. Having this freedom is a major reason why women now make up half of the nation’s workforce and 40 percent of women are the sole or lead income earners for their families.

In addition to boosting families’ financial security, research shows that contraception coverage provides savings to employers. A National Business Group on Health study found that employers who did not offer contraceptives spent 15 to 17 percent more, due to the costs of pregnancy and lost productivity.

The importance of birth control also goes beyond contraception, with 58 percent of women using birth control pills for non-contraceptive reasons, including managing endometriosis, ovarian cysts, and other medical conditions. Reasons for using birth control are varied and personal, and should be made between a woman, her partner, and her doctor, not her boss.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) ensured that women have access to basic health care services, including birth control. Thanks to the no-pay contraceptive benefit in the ACA, women across America saved $483 million last year alone. That is money that stays in the pockets of families, who spend it on what they know their families need. Additionally, family planning leads to healthier babies and mothers, which reduces health care costs for the federal government, employers, and families. The Guttmacher Institute found that for every dollar invested in helping women with family planning saved $5.68 in Medicaid costs.

In other words, evidence backs up common sense: when women call the shots on their health care decisions, women and families win. Having accessible, effective birth control and the ability to make their own decisions about their healthcare is a key piece of women’s economic security.