Introduction of the Access to Birth Control (Abc) Actby Representative Carolyn B. Maloney
Posted on 2013-02-14
of new york
in the house of representatives
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Mrs. CAROLYN B. MALONEY of New York. Mr. Speaker, today I am proud to
introduce the Access to Birth Control (ABC) Act with my colleagues
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, John Conyers, Jr, Gwen Moore, David
Cicilline, Barbara Lee, Chellie Pingree, Janice Hahn, Sam Farr, Charles
Rangel, Jerrold Nadler, Keith Ellison, Diana DeGette, James Moran, Rush
Holt, and Scott Peters. Special thanks go to Senator Frank Lautenberg
for introducing the Senate version of the bill.
This legislation ensures women's timely access to basic, preventative health care and ensures that women of age 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. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act women can receive contraceptive coverage and other preventative 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 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.
The use of birth control is widespread, with 99 percent of women having used contraceptives at some point in their life. 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.