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What have you done for me lately? The Obama Administration, DFA and Women’s Health

By Dr. Sujatha Prabhakaran
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When President Obama was elected, many of us working in women’s healthcare anticipated a positive shift in health policy regarding women.   

There have definitely been some disappointments: 

  • Inclusion of the Stupak amendment in health care reform
  • HHS rejection of application to make Plan B available over the counter for all women and girls including those under age 17. 

Particularly after the HHS ruling on Plan B, some of us DFA members were concerned about what both the Obama administration and DFA had really done for women’s health.  So we did some research. 

Among the Obama Administration policies improving or supporting women’s health: 

  • Rejection of the Republican Plan to defund Planned Parenthood
  • Suspension of the Global Gag Rule 
  • Passage of the Affordable Care Act with the following provisions that benefit women’s health: 
    • Full contraceptive coverage and rejection of the exemption request for religious employers
    • Prohibition of higher insurance premiums solely based on gender
    • Mandatory full coverage of preventive services including:  Screening and counseling for intimate partner violence, cervical cancer screening, mammography, sexually transmitted infection counseling, HIV testing 
    • Mandatory coverage of maternity care including gestational diabetes screening, lactation consults

And how about Doctors for America: 

While abortion access and coverage continue to be weaknesses of both the Obama administration and Doctors for America, both groups have made strides to overall improve women’s access to health care.    As DFA members, we’d like to see DFA join organizations such as the AMA, ACOG, AMWA and PRCH among others, and take a clearer stance on abortion access as it is an issue of significant importance to women’s health. We also support DFA’s One Million Campaign which will be important in helping women understand and access the benefits afforded them by the ACA and in assuring the ACA, which is the most important improvement in women’s health access in the last few decades, continues to be implemented.  

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