Lawmakers Aim to #FreeThePill
Representatives Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and Ami Bera (D-CA) introduced legislation Thursday to remove barriers to buying birth control. The Affordability is Access Act would require insurance companies to cover any oral contraception approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and for birth control to be available over-the-counter without the need for a prescription. “Bodily autonomy is a basic human right. Reproductive justice is not only a healthcare issue, it is also an economic issue and a civil rights issue,” said Pressley. “At a time when reproductive rights are under attack, it is more critical than ever that we take bold steps to reaffirm reproductive rights for all Americans.” Specifically, the bill would ensure that FDA-approved birth control pills would be covered without cost sharing and without prescription requirements -- which would expand access to affordable birth control while maintaining the FDA’s authority to determine the safety and efficacy of drugs. “It is a brutal form of oppression to seize control of the one essential thing a person should command: their own body. Women should have the right to own and control their own bodies,” said Ocasio-Cortez. Bera, who served as Sacramento County’s Chief Medical Officer, added, “As a doctor, I know access to affordable contraception is critical for women’s reproductive health. It enables women to live healthier lives and enhances their economic security.” A recent study found that a majority of women said that birth control use had allowed them to take better care of themselves or their families (63%), support themselves financially (56%), complete their education (51%), or keep or get a job (50%). Despite its benefits, barriers to access -- including the inability to buy birth control without a prescription and continued attempts to gut its coverage by health insurance providers -- remain. The trio was joined by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Congresswoman Katie Hill (D-CA). More here.