A recent Supreme Court ruling in two cases could make it more difficult for women to access oral contraceptives, which are proven to reduce a woman’s risk of ovarian cancer.
Supreme Court Strikes Provision of Health Reform Law that Helps Prevent Ovarian Cancer
“Today’s ruling is a punch in the ovaries for women who want to reduce their risk of cancer.”
Washington, DC—Today the Supreme Court ruled on two cases that challenged whether for-profit employers must provide health insurance that covers birth control pills with no cost-sharing for employees. The Court struck down a provision of the Affordable Care Act that required such coverage, finding that closely-held corporations may opt out of the law based on religious freedom.
“This ruling is a punch in the ovaries for women who want to reduce their risk of cancer,” said Calaneet Balas, CEO of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance. The Alliance submitted a brief to the court noting that the use of oral contraceptives for five or more years can cut a woman’s risk of ovarian cancer in half, which Justice Ginsburg cited in her dissent. “Taking oral contraceptives is one of the simplest and most effective ways a woman can reduce her risk of this deadly disease. Today’s ruling is a step in a dangerous direction, making it more difficult for tens of thousands of women in the United States to manage their health and wellbeing.”
Ovarian cancer survivor Susan Leighton highlighted the importance of this law at a rally before the Supreme Court on March 25, the day the justices heard oral arguments in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Burwell. As a survivor, Susan wants to do everything possible to prevent her daughter from getting this disease: “I still spend many sleepless nights worried that my precious daughter might be diagnosed with ovarian cancer one day. We have been proactive in finding ways to
reduce her risk, but I don’t want my daughter’s health to depend on what her employer believes.”
Today’s ruling makes it harder for a woman like Susan’s daughter to access oral contraceptives, should she choose to lower her cancer risk that way,” notes Ms. Balas. “This decision puts women at risk by making oral contraceptives less accessible—based solely on an employer’s personal beliefs.”
Click here to learn more about factors that increase and decrease a woman’s risk of ovarian cancer, including oral contraceptives.
The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance is a powerful voice for everyone touched by ovarian cancer. We connect survivors, women at risk, caregivers and health providers with the information and resources they need. We ensure that ovarian cancer is a priority for lawmakers and agencies in Washington, DC, and throughout the country. We help our community raise their voices on behalf of every life that has been affected by this disease.
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