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ACOG: Women Still Lack Access to Contraception

Millions of U.S. women need publicly funded contraception

FRIDAY, May 11 (HealthDay News) -- Despite some advances, many American women are still unable to get the contraception they need, warned physicians this week at the 55th annual clinical meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in San Diego.

Speakers took special aim at a March ruling by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals that said a heath-insurance plan doesn't need to pay for contraception. "This type of judgment sends the message that women's health care needs are not taken seriously," said Vivian M. Dickerson, M.D., past president of ACOG, in a statement. "When will the U.S. stop treating its women as second-class citizens?"

According to Dickerson, more than 16.8 million U.S. women need publicly funded contraception but don't have access to proper care. Most private insurers don't cover contraception.

"A sexually active woman who has unprotected sex for five years will experience an average of 4.25 unintended pregnancies. Restricting a woman's family planning options essentially forces her to accept those unacceptable odds," Rebekah E. Gee, M.D., of Philadelphia Veteran's Affairs Medical Center and the University of Pennsylvania, said in a statement.

The federal court has jurisdiction in Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. Twenty-two states do not require insurers to cover contraception.

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