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Booker, Menendez Re-Introduce Bill to Protect Women’s Access to Birth Control

With reproductive rights increasingly under assault by Trump Administration, bill ensures women have timely access to birth control

December 21, 2017
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WASHINGTON, D.C. –  With reproductive rights increasingly under assault by the Trump Administration, U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) have re-introduced a bill to protect women’s access to birth control.

No one should be able to interfere with a woman’s health care decisions, but sadly, there have been reports of pharmacies in at least 25 states that have refused to fill a prescription for birth control.  The Access to Birth Control (ABC) Act would ensure that women have access to contraception at a pharmacy without delay. It also ensures that pharmacies do not operate an environment where customers are intimidated, threatened, or harassed when seeking access to contraception.

“Every woman should have affordable and timely access to birth control – it’s an essential part of health care,” Senator Booker said. “Protecting this access is more important than ever under the Trump Administration’s continued attacks on women’s health care. Our bill ensures that women have autonomy over their health and family planning decisions.”

“We find ourselves at a moment where we must re-fight old battles we thought had been won. Unfortunately, we again must stop those who are dead-set on pushing a radical political agenda that seeks to turn back the clock on half-a-century of progress on women’s health care rights,” said Sen. Menendez. “I am pleased to join Senator Booker once again in introducing this important legislation which will ensure women are able to access their contraceptive of choice at the pharmacy of choice without fear of intimidation or harassment.“

"Nearly nine in 10 women of reproductive age will use contraception at some point in their lives, whether for family planning or other medical reasons like treating endometriosis,” Dana Singiser, Vice President for Public Policy and Government Affairs for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said. “Birth control – including emergency contraception – should be treated like any other preventive medical care. No politician, boss nor pharmacist has a right to limit people from accessing the health care they need that includes the full range of birth control options. Planned Parenthood, the nation's leading provider of reproductive health care, applauds Senator Booker for introducing this important legislation that safeguards a fundamental right -- to be able to decide whether and when you want to have children.”  

“Increasing access to birth control is all about leveling the playing field for women,” Adrienne Kimmell, Vice President for Strategic Research and Communications at NARAL Pro-Choice America, said. “Senator Booker understands that. He knows that equality for women isn’t possible without the freedom to decide whether, when, and with whom to start a family. We applaud Sen. Booker for introducing the Access to Birth Control Act, trusting women, and believing in our autonomy to make decisions about our own lives.”

“No woman should be sent home from a pharmacy without her birth control or humiliated by a pharmacist who disapproves of her health care decisions,” Fatima Gross Graves, President and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center, said. “The Access to Birth Control Act is critical because it ensures that every woman will be able to leave her pharmacy with her medication in hand and her dignity intact. We applaud Senator Booker for supporting the fundamental right of individuals to determine their health care and their futures. It’s not her pharmacist’s business any more than it is her boss’s business.”

The Access to Birth Control Act is cosponsored by Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Ed Markey (D-MA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Ron Wyden (D-OR).   

The Access to Birth Control Act is supported by the following organizations:

Advocates for Youth, American Association of University Women, American Civil Liberties Union, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Black Women’s Health Imperative, Catholics for Choice, Center for Reproductive Rights, Guttmacher Institute, In Our Own Voice, NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, National Council of Jewish Women, National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, National Women’s Law Center, Physicians for Reproductive Health, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Population Connection Action Fund, Population Institute, and the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS).

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