Two female employees of telecommunications behemoth AT&T Corporation filed a lawsuit earlier this month, charging their employer with sex discrimination in its health insurance plans, which exclude coverage of prescription contraceptives. Jane Lund and Susan Stocking, filing through a federal court in Kansas, are seeking class-action status to include tens of thousands of AT&T’s women employees across the country.
“[AT&T’s] willingness to cover Viagra but not birth control captures the double standard in our society. Apparently, AT&T doesn’t look at pregnancy on the same level as they view potency,” said Sly James Jr., attorney for the plaintiffs, according to the Kansas City Star.
The lawsuit represents a growing trend nationwide, calling for prescription contraceptive coverage. Twenty states now mandate that prescription contraceptives be included under policies covering prescription drugs, reported the Kansas City Star.
Last December, Dow Jones & Co. reached a settlement, agreeing to cover all employee prescription contraceptives approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as “related medical services.” According to Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), women of reproductive age throughout the US continue to pay more out-of-pocket health care costs than men because of reproductive health expenses not covered by insurance plans. “Contraception is basic health care,” said PPFA President Gloria Feldt. “Studies indicate that most Americans believe prescription contraception should be covered. It’s time for corporations… to do what is right for the health of America’s women.”
Media Resources: Kansas City Star 1/21/03; Feminist Daily News Wire