On September 22, 1973, the Group Health membership voted by a narrow margin (214 to 271) for coverage of contraception. The argument about contraception had been building for months, and board member Hilde Birnbaum, who, along with the Group Health Women's Caucus, supported it, found herself pitted against some board members and staff. Many of Group Health's Catholic members also opposed coverage of contraception.
The following April 27, 1974, the membership meeting was packed with 900 members and spectators to witness an effort by conservatives to repeal coverage of contraceptives. Conservatives lost by just 10 votes, though their position on abortion was defeated decisively.