WBA Issue Statement on Health Care

The WBA believes that everyone should have access to affordable, quality health care, including birth control, and the privacy to make reproductive choices. The United States lags behind most other western industrialized countries in providing basic care at an affordable cost to all residents, especially to women, and the WBA finds this unacceptable.

The WBA believes that lack of health insurance can be a barrier to accessing timely, quality health care services, especially for women1. Uninsured individuals are less likely than insured individuals to receive preventative care, recommended screenings, and follow-up care2.

Lack of access can affect women’s careers, financial well-being, job security, educational attainment, and future opportunity. WBA members and female lawyers worldwide rely on contraception coverage to give them the ability to decide if and when to have children and also to treat other non-pregnancy related health issues. The careers Sexual Harassment, 29 C.F.R. § 1604.11(f) (1999). of women lawyers could become untenable if women lost control over their own reproductive futures – both in the impact to their own bodies and the additional childcare obligations. Moreover, consistent and uninterrupted coverage of safe, reliable, and no-cost contraception is critical for every woman’s educational and professional success and for women’s overall health and well-being3.

The WBA supports access to affordable, quality contraception for all women. The WBA has a long tradition of advocating for access to affordable, quality health care for women by supporting organizations that provide resources and assistance to women to address health care needs. The WBA Foundation
provides grants to such organizations as Bread for the City, which provides vulnerable residents of Washington, D.C. with medical care and other services. The WBA’s Health Law Forum hosts programs that bring attention to and educate WBA members and non-members on the importance of access to affordable, quality health care for women, including the Centennial year program “ASLME’s Next Steps in Health Reform in 2017.”

In addition, the WBA supports access to health care by joining other women’s organizations to file amicus briefs in cases where women’s access to affordable, quality health care is at risk. One such case is Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Trump, in which Pennsylvania challenged rules issued by the Trump administration that would allow employers to assert conscience-based objections to the contraceptive mandate provided under the Women’s Health Amendment to the Affordable Care Act.

1 Access to Health Care: An official position statement of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, Journal of Obstetrics, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing (Sept. 2016), www.jognn.org/article/S0884-2175(16)30424-5/pdf.
2 Melissa Majerol, Van Newkirk, & Rachel Garfield, The uninsured: A primer—Key facts about health insurance and the uninsured in America, The Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, files.kff.org/attachment/the-uninsured-a-primer-key-facts-about-healthinsurance-and-the-uninsured-in-america-primer.
3 Michelle Kallen, Jessica Morton, & Kristin Mitcham, (Nov.-Dec. 2017), WBA Signs on to Amicus Briefs in Masterpiece Cakeshop & Pennsylvania v. Trump, Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia’s Raising the Bar Newsletter (Nov.-Dec. 2017), www.wbadc.org/files/WBA_RTB_2017-2018_Issue 4_NovDec.pdf