The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today announced that all new insurance plans under the health reform law provide women contraception without co-pays, deductibles or other out-of-pocket expenses.

The new measure will ensure that millions of women in New York State and nationwide have greater access to a broad range contraception and preventative health services. A panel of experts at the Institute of Medicine had recommended the policy.

“This landmark decision is an important step forward for women’s health,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. “It removes financial barriers that prevent women from using birth control consistently. It gives them the ability to decide when and whether to have children regardless of the size of their wallets.”

HHS is considering a proposal to allow certain religious entities to opt-out from covering contraception in their employee insurance plans. The NYCLU and ACLU are committed to ensuring that women are not subjected to religious dictates that block their access to basic health care.