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The Access to Birth Control (ABC) Act

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The Access to Birth Control (ABC) Act ensures women’s timely access to basic, preventative health care and ensures that women will not be denied birth control or emergency contraception by their pharmacist. The ABC Act also requires pharmacies to help a woman obtain medication by her preferred method if the requested product is not in stock and protects women from being intimidated when requesting contraception.

Family planning is central to women’s basic health care. The use of birth control is widespread, with 99 percent of women having used contraceptives at some point in their life. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, women can receive contraceptive coverage and other preventive services without a copay. While this is great news to the millions of women using some form of birth control, barriers to contraceptive access still persist. According to the National Women’s Law Center, at least 24 states across the country have reported incidents where pharmacists have refused to fill prescriptions for birth control or provide emergency contraception to individuals who do not require a prescription. Furthermore, six states permit refusals without patient protections such as requirements to refer or transfer prescriptions and seven states allow refusals but prohibit pharmacists from obstructing patient access to medication.

Denying contraception to women represents an erosion of a woman’s constitutional right of access to contraception and a threat to women’s access to basic health care. Access is especially important for women living in rural areas who may not have multiple pharmacies near them and low-income women who lack the resources to find an alternative pharmacy in the appropriate time frame. Now that insurance plans are required to cover birth control, Congress must act to make sure that women receive timely access to both prescription and over the counter contraception at the pharmacy counter.

This legislation is supported by Advocates for Youth, American Association of University Women (AAUW), Center for Reproductive Rights, Jewish Women International, National Organization for Women, NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, National Women’s Law Center, National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health (PRCH), Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Population Connection, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Reproductive Health Technologies Project, Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS), Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations (UUA), and Advocates for Youth.

Please contact Arielle Woronoff in Senator Cory A. Booker’s office with questions, and see the press release for the ABC act by clicking here.