Feminists Tout Obamacare for Providing ‘Near Universal Access to Family Planning' and 'Contraception’

By Penny Starr | March 29, 2012 | 6:47 PM EDT

Kathy Bonk, president of Communications Consortium Media Center, spoke at a Feminist Majority Foundation event on March 29, 2012 about how Obamacare advances women. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

(CNSNews.com) -- Feminists and “reproductive rights” activists lauded the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) for “advancing women” and providing “near universal access” to family planning products and services, including contraception.

“If the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented and we can, indeed, keep Title X funded, and Medicaid indeed can be saved, we will have achieved near universal access to family planning, birth control, contraception in the United States,” Kathy Bonk, president of Communications Consortium Media Center said at the Feminist Majority Foundation’s “Women, Money and Power” summit on Thursday in Washington, D.C.

Title X is the federal government’s family planning program that funds health care providers, including millions of dollars in grants each year to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Bonk was one of a number of feminists who spoke on a “Bishops, Politicians, and the War on Women’s Health” panel.

The panel also included Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown Law student who gained notoriety in recent weeks for telling members of Congress that she and other students were suffering because their birth control costs were not covered in their health insurance plans.

On Thursday, Fluke spoke about the importance of recruiting young feminists to run for political office, but Bonk emphasized that family planning is a “really important part” of Obamacare.

“First of all, the thing about the Affordable Care Act that people don’t fully understand is that it’s probably going to do more for women and more for advancing women, equal to, on par with what Title IX did for sports,” Bonk said. “It is that dramatic.”

Eleanor Smeal, founder and president of the Feminist Majority Foundation, moderated a panel called 'Bishops, Politicians, and the War on Women's Health' at her organization's summit on March 29, 2012 in Washington, D.C. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

“And it’s not about abortion and it’s not just about birth control, although that is a really important part of it,” Bonk said.

Bonk said Obamacare is the most significant gain for women in her decades of activism.

“It is truly amazing that we’re going to reach, potentially, universal coverage,” said Bonk, who concluded her remarks with marching orders for fellow feminists who attended the summit.

“Let’s shout the good news of the Affordable Care Act and not give up what is potentially the single biggest advancement for women in the last 40 years,” she said.

The forum included a 25th anniversary luncheon where Eleanor Smeal, founder and president of the Feminist Majority, handed out “Fearless Trailblazer Awards” to Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Arlene Holt Baker, executive vice president of the AFL-CIO.