WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) re-introduced the Access to Birth Control Act, a bill that would guarantee patients' timely access to birth control at the pharmacy.
Contraception is an essential part of reproductive health care, and patients who need this care should be able to access it in a timely manner. However, there have been reports of pharmacies in at least 25 states that have refused to dispense contraception to patients. The Access to Birth Control Act would ensure that pharmacies provide a contraceptive or a medication related to a contraceptive to a patient without delay, or assist the patient in accessing their medication elsewhere if it is out of stock.
"Birth control is a vital part of reproductive health care and basic family planning," Senator Booker said. "No person should be denied access to birth control because of someone elseâ??s views -- including at the pharmacy. At a time when reproductive rights and women's rights are under increasing attack by the Trump administration, protecting Americans' access to contraception is more important than ever."
"The decision to use birth control is up to a woman and her doctor and no one should have the right to block access to contraception simply because they personally donâ??t agree with that choice," Rep. Maloney said. "Nearly all women in the US will use some form of birth control during her life -- and they shouldnâ??t have to jump through hoops to get it. Under the Affordable Care Act, FDA-approved birth control is covered by insurance with no co-pay -- but that right is worthless if someone's pharmacist can block access. This bill will make sure that a woman has access to the birth control method she and her doctor have decided is right for her."
"There's no question we need proactive legislation at a time when the Trump-Pence Administration continues to attack our access to health care," Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO of the National Womenâ??s Law Center (NWLC), said. "The Access to Birth Control Act is brave legislation that prioritizes patients' health and ensures women can access the birth control they need. No patient should ever be denied care based on the personal -- not medical -- beliefs of their pharmacist. Family planning is central to good health care, and we'll continue to support legislation that boldly recognizes that."
Today's bill reintroduction comes on the heels of a final rule the Trump administration issued earlier this year that would threaten Title X patients' access to a full range of contraception methods and other family planning services. Since coming into office the Trump Administration has repeatedly moved to decrease access to health care, including comprehensive reproductive care and family planning services. These efforts continue to endanger the lives of countless Americans across the country.
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), 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), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Tina Smith (D-MN), and Jacky Rosen (D-NV).
In the House, the legislation is cosponsored by Representatives Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Jackie Speier (D-CA), RaÃºl Grijalva (D-AZ), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Gerald Connolly (D-VA), and Peter DeFazio (D-OR).
The ABC Act is supported by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), Black Women's Health Imperative, Center for Reproductive Rights, Guttmacher Institute, In Our Own Voice: National Black Women's Reproductive Justice Agenda, NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, National Council of Jewish Women, National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, National Women's Law Center, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Population Connection Action Fund, Population Institute, and the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS).