Columbia, SC (WLTX)- Columbia Representatives Kirkman Finlay and Beth Bernstein introduced a new birth control legislation Tuesday.
The legislation (H. 3809) would require insurance plans to cover a 12-month supply of prescribed self-administered contraceptives - such as the ring, the patch and oral contraceptives - at one time.
They are joined by Representatives Kit Spires, Neal Collins, James Smith and Dr. Robert Ridgeway.
The legislation is similar to legislation passed in Oregon, California, Hawaii, Illinois, Vermont, the District of Columbia and most recently Virginia.
“For women not planning a pregnancy, having a consistent and readily accessible supply of birth control is essential,” said Ann Warner, CEO of the Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network (WREN). “By providing for long-term uninterrupted access to contraception, the legislation would remove a significant barrier to women’s consistent use of birth control and improve health and economic outcomes for both women and children.”
According to the Women's Rights and Empowerment Network, most women must refill their birth control prescriptions each month, which can prove burdensome for women who lack transportation, live in rural areas, move frequently, or struggle to balance hectic schedules. One in four women says they have missed birth control pills because they could not get the next pack in time, thereby increasing their risk of unintended pregnancy.
The legislation says that a one year’s supply of birth control at a time removes a significant barrier to dependable birth control access.
“This legislation is one of those rare times in the General Assembly where we can create better outcomes, save money and create opportunity all at once,” said Representative Beth Bernstein. “By increasing access to birth control, this bill has the potential to reduce unintended pregnancy, contribute to healthier pregnancies and allow women to pursue their goals.”