Booker, Maloney re-introduce bill to safeguard patient access to birth control

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-NJ,  and U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-NY,  re-introduced the Access to Birth Control Act on Tuesday, a bill that would guarantee patients’ timely access to birth control at the pharmacy.

In a press release, Booker’s office said that 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, according to Booker, 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,” Booker said in a statement. “No person should be denied access to birth control because of someone else’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 don’t agree with that choice,” said Maloney. “Nearly all women in the U.S. will use some form of birth control during her life – and they shouldn’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,” Maloney said.

“There’s no question we need proactive legislation at a time when the Trump-Pence Administration continues to attack our access to health care,” said Fatima Goss Graves, president and chief executive officer of the National Women’s Law Center, 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,” said Graves.

The 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. Booker said that since coming into office the Trump Administration has repeatedly moved to decrease access to health care, including comprehensive reproductive care and family planning services.

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