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Ladies, this video from the Guttmacher Institute explains how contraception can make all the difference in the world for us to control our own bodies, our own reproduction, and our own lives. And in case you haven't yet heard, something amazing happened this week:
Beginning today, up to 47 million women may be eligible to get free access to preventive health care services as that provision of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act goes into effect.
Even after all the right-wing snarling and gnashing of teeth, we have real women's health care, basic, preventive, life-saving health care.
- Well-woman visits, including an annual check-up for adult women to get recommended preventive services, and additional visits if women and their doctors determine them necessary.
- Contraception and contraceptive counseling: Women will have free access to all FDA-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures and patient education and counseling without a co-pay. Most workers in employer-sponsored plans are currently covered for contraceptives.
- Gestational diabetes screening for women 24 to 28 weeks pregnant, and those at high risk of developing gestational diabetes. Women who have gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future and the children of women with gestational diabetes are at increased risk of being overweight and insulin-resistant during childhood.
- HPV DNA testing every three years for women who are 30 or older, regardless of Pap smear results. HPV screening has been shown to help reduce the prevalence of cervical cancer.
- Annual sexually transmitted infections (STI) counseling for sexually-active women. Such sessions have been shown to reduce risky behavior in patients; only 28 percent of women aged 18-44 years reported that they had discussed STIs with a doctor or nurse, according to HHS.
- HIV screening and counseling for sexually-active women. From 1999 to 2003, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a 15 percent increase in AIDS cases among women, and a 1 percent increase among men, suggesting an increased risk for women.
- Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling for pregnant and postpartum women, including access to comprehensive lactation support and counseling from trained providers, as well as breastfeeding equipment.
- Interpersonal and domestic violence screening and counseling for all adolescent and adult women. An estimated 25 percent of U.S. women report being targets of intimate partner violence during their lifetimes and screening will lead to interventions to increase their safety.
Already covered under the law are other free preventive services for women recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, including mammograms every 1-2 years for women over 40, cervical cancer screenings and prenatal care.
There are still many women out there who need affordable access to health care, but 47 million is one heck of a start.
This is such big news for women that it seems one Republican congressman wants to make August 1st a national holiday!
Here's what Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Kelly (R) had to say:
"I know in your mind you can think of times when America was attacked. One is December 7th, that's Pearl Harbor day. The other is September 11th, and that's the day of the terrorist attack," Kelly said at a press conference on Capitol Hill. "I want you to remember August the 1st, 2012, the attack on our religious freedom. That is a day that will live in infamy, along with those other dates."