Good news for the ladies this Monday morning!

First up, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission ruled that employers who provide comprehensive prescription coverage must include birth control on the list of approved medications or be liable for a sex discrimination lawsuit. According to the Detroit News:

Small businesses that offer comprehensive prescription coverage but fail to cover birth control are violating the state's civil rights act and could be forced to change their policies under a ruling Monday by the Michigan Civil Rights Commission.

The commission agreed that those employers are discriminating against women by failing to pay for birth control, which studies show most women will use in their lifetimes and costs employers about $1.43 a month per employee.

The ruling paves the way for employees who work in businesses with less than 15 employees to challenge them to cover conception if they cover other prescription drugs. If they refuse, the employee could file a sex discrimination complaint with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights to force a change. A small business owner could appeal that decision to a circuit court.
The fact that employers are only out $1.43 per employee per month to cover the cost of birth control amazes me. The biggest roadblock to extending the Michigan law to small businesses (firms with 15 or more employees have been required to cover birth control in Michigan for a while now) has been the argument it is simply cost prohibitive to provide coverage for all medications. As the MCRC makes clear, even if all 14 employees are women using birth control, small businesses will only spend about $240 per year on contraception coverage. Ortho-Tricycline costs about $50 per 28-pill pack--without prescription coverage, the average women will pay $600 per year out of pocket for birth control.

And in even better news, as it affects women outside of the Mitten, the FDA has finally stopped caving to political pressure and approved Plan B for over the counter use. Of course, the ruling stipulates that only women aged 18 and over can procure Plan B without a prescription. Although, I'm willing to celebrate half a victory since they seem to be few and far between these days.

Needless to say, the Concerned Women for Patriarchy America are outraged that the FDA has "overstepped it's authority" by approving the drug for OTC use. In other news, the CWPA is similarly outraged that:

"Overstepped it's authority?" Methinks the CWPA needs a primer on the purpose of the Food and Drug Administration.

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annamaria at 7:27 AM

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