To: The United States House of Representatives and The United States Senate

Stand United For Women's Reproductive Health

We, the undersigned, ask that you read the following petition. Please take into consideration the very valid points offered below before taking action against this mandate.

We fear the fever of politics may have caused many in the House and Senate to forget the wide variety of health-saving benefits offered by oral contraceptives, and we strive to keep the health of American women from being compromised.

While considering, discussing, and especially when voting on matters regarding contraceptives and women's reproductive health, please keep in mind that "the Pill" is frequently used for matters other than simply prohibiting pregnancy. More than 1.5 MILLION women in the United States take birth control pills for non-contraceptive purposes.

A woman's chance of developing endometrial and ovarian cancer can be decreased by more than 70 percent—just by taking the Pill for 12 years. Even taking it for just 1 to 5 years can lower those risks by up to 40%.

The Pill also provides relief from serious health complications such as polycystic ovarian syndrome and endometriosis, which can cause intense pain, scarring of the uterine lining, and sometimes infertility. It also defends against diseases of the fallopian tubes, which are known as pelvic provocative diseases.

Women suffering from amenorrhea (lack of periods from low weight, stress, excessive exercise, or damage to the ovaries from radiation or chemotherapy) also benefit greatly because the estrogen in the Pill evens this balance by creating regular menstrual cycles.

Oral contraceptives (OCs) are also frequently prescribed to help women have clearer skin and lighter, less painful periods. This may not seem like a big deal to those who have never menstruated, but please be assured, crippling pain and heavy flow periods every 28 days or so, for years on end, can be debilitating and lead to dependence on pain killers.

According to research done by the nonprofit Guttmacher Institute, which used data from the National Survey of Family Growth, 14% of all women who take the Pill do so exclusively for reasons unrelated to controlling pregnancy. More than 58% of users say they take it, at least in part, for purposes other than pregnancy prevention.

The debate over contraceptives and women's reproductive health issues has become clouded by politics. Making OCs affordable for women should not become a battle over Republicans vs. Democrats winning legislation—it should be about what's in the best interest of American women.

PLEASE do not infringe upon accessibility of these drugs because of you may not want to support a policy of President Obama's. This should not be a battle between liberals and conservatives—it's about keeping Americans healthy and safe.

On matters regarding the beliefs of Catholic employers—since when has the religious affiliation of an employer affected the type of health care coverage its employees receive? The cost to the company will still be the same. Why should a woman have to call and discuss her contraceptive needs with an insurance agent, when they should be able to go straight their doctor?

The inclusion of contraceptives in this mandate is not forcing Catholics to do anything, nor is it intended to trample upon their rights. This is a matter of health coverage. The religious implications fall upon the shoulders of the individual, and no woman who's given the option of access to the Pill has to take it. Thank you for your time and attention.

Why is this important?

This petition is intended to persuade Congress to abandon plans of requesting a vote that would weaken or overturn President Obama's access to contraception mandate.