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Gov. Walker's Attack on Contraceptive Equity

Contraceptive Equity: Good for Women, Good for Wisconsin



Scott Walker's biennial budget bill declares war on women's health care rights in Wisconsin. The bill contains a provision that repeals Wisconsin's Contraceptive Equity law, which was enacted in 2009. Contraceptive Equity requires all insurance policies that contain a prescription drug benefit to cover prescription contraceptives. Since birth control is a common and safe medication, excluding birth control coverage under prescription drug plans constitutes discrimination against women. These plans must include birth control as a matter of basic fairness. Since most Wisconsin residents get their health insurance through their employers, workplace equality demands that women have coverage for all the prescriptions they need, including birth control. Repealing this act would make it more difficult and more expensive for many women to access their prescribed medication. Repealing Contraceptive Equity would constitute a step backwards in protecting the reproductive rights of women.

Fast Facts

  • Failing to provide contraceptive coverage costs employers 15-17% more than providing it.1
  • Despite Walker's claim that he is balancing the budget, Contraceptive Equity actually saves taxpayer dollars. A recent study shows that for every $1 spent on birth control services under the Medicaid program, federal and state governments save $4.02.2 This attack has nothing to do with money and everything to do with limiting women's freedom.
  • Over 95% of women use birth control at some point in their lives. Birth control is basic health care that should always be covered.
  • Women currently spend 68% more on health care than men do.3 This is true for many reasons, but one the main contributors is the reproductive health needs of women, such as gynecological exams, birth control, and abortion. Contraceptive Equity seeks to make up for some of this disparity. Walker's repeal of this law will perpetuate this troubling inequality.


  • Women need the guarantee that their prescriptions will be covered by their health insurance. Contraceptive Equity provides this necessary guarantee. Expecting women to pay out of pocket for basic health care is unconscionable and should not be accepted.
  • Gender equality necessitates equal treatment in all arenas of society, including health care. Before Contraceptive Equity, some insurance companies provided coverage for prescriptions for erectile dysfunction in men while not covering birth control for women. This blatant inequity is unacceptable the reproductive health care needs of both men and women need to be treated with equal levels of respect.
  • Birth control is not only used to prevent pregnancy, but is also used to treat some serious medical conditions like endometriosis and infertility. Failing to provide health care coverage for a medication with multiple uses discriminates against women who cannot afford to pay out of pocket for the medicine they need.

Why Oppose the Repeal of Contraceptive Equity

  • Contraceptive Equity protects women from health insurance discrimination. A prescription so commonly used by women deserves a coverage mandate.
  • Women pay more than men do for health care. Contraceptive Equity helps diminish this disparity.
  • Birth control is common and safe. Failing to provide coverage has nothing to do with health and everything to do with limiting women's freedom.
  • Birth control prevents unintended pregnancy, reducing the need for state support for pregnancy and childbirth costs. Repealing Contraceptive Equity would burden the state financially, despite Walker's claims to the contrary.

1Family Health in Brief, Washington Business Group on Health, 2000

2Guttmacher Institute, 2008

3The Atlantic Wire

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