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Covering Birth Control

Why one woman sued.


But before any lawsuit could be filed, the advocates needed a plaintiff who was willing to risk taking on her employer. They found one in Jennifer Erickson.

"Jennifer is a Rosa Parks; she has a sense of idealism and altruism," says Riley. "She's a very intelligent young woman, a thinking person. No doubt her experiences turning down women raised her awareness and motivated her to stand up and do something about it."

What also made her an ideal plaintiff is that "she's not disgruntled, she has no ax to grind with her employer about any other issue," says Riley. "She wants to pursue her career at Bartell Drugs, but she also wants this company to cover contraception and wants to change the law so all companies do so as well."

"It's hard to find a woman who will stand up to her boss for $30 a month -- the cost of birth control pills -- and risk her job for a principle," says Law.

Jennifer Erickson simply shrugs off the deluge of praise. "Stepping forward is not as hard as I thought it would be," she says. "When you really believe in something, it's easy to do."

Loren Stein, a journalist based in Palo Alto, Calif., specializes in health and legal issues. Her work has appeared in California Lawyer,Hippocrates,L.A. Weekly, and The Christian Science Monitor, among other publications.


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