The Obama administration’s birth control mandate took effect Wednesday, granting an estimated 47 million women access to free contraception and a raft of preventive health services.
As of Aug. 1, new or renewing health insurance plans are required to provide birth control to women at no out-of-pocket cost. Houses of worship are exempt and religious nonprofits get a one-year reprieve, as well as the option to pass the cost to the insurance company.
About 47 million women will have access to these services starting Aug. 1, according to HHS.
“Women deserve to have control over their health care,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Aug. 1, 2012, ushers in a new day for women’s health when, for the first time ever, women will have access to eight new services at no out-of-pocket cost to keep them healthier and to catch potentially serious conditions at an earlier, more treatable stage.”