Endocrine Society expresses concerns that federal rule will reduce women's access to birth control

The Endocrine Society expressed concerns Friday with the presidential administration's new rules that would scale back the Affordable Care Act's contraception coverage mandate.

The Society, the world's largest professional organization for physicians who treat and scientists who study hormone health conditions, called for future health reform efforts to include continued access to no-cost hormonal contraception in a position statement issued last month.

The rules, which took effect Friday, allow companies to stop covering contraceptive services for their workers if they have religious or moral objections. The move will reduce some women's ability to access birth control at no cost.

No-cost hormonal contraceptive services allow a woman to effectively plan if and when she becomes pregnant. This has a positive impact on families' socioeconomic status and health. The resulting reduction in unplanned pregnancies also has a positive impact on healthcare costs.

Hormonal contraception's health benefits extend beyond family planning. Endocrinologists frequently prescribe hormonal contraception to treat a variety of conditions, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Many birth control pill users use this contraceptive method to treat excessive menstrual bleeding, menstrual pain and acne. Hormonal contraception also can reduce a woman's risk of developing ovarian and endometrial cancer.

By allowing employers to revert to pre-ACA cost-sharing requirements, the rules will increase the number of women who are unable to afford contraception.

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