House approves bill to expand access to birth control

The Vermont House passed H.620, the Access to Birth Control bill, sending it to the Senate for consideration.

 

This is a huge step forward for family planning, economic security, and other issues that are greatly impacted by unintended pregnancies! In Vermont, nearly half of pregnancies are unplanned[1].

 

H.620 will do a few things to help reduce unplanned pregnancies:

  1. The bill codifies the birth control access provisions in the Affordable Care Act, which require health insurers to provide contraceptives and sterilization to individuals at no cost, so Vermonters will continue to receive these benefits even if Congress is one day able to repeal the federal law.
  2. It expands access to long-acting reversible contraceptives (known as LARCs), such as implants and intrauterine devices, by removing current financial hurdles. These types of contraceptives are proven to be the most effective reversible method of preventing unplanned pregnancies.
  3. It allows women to receive a full year’s prescription of oral contraceptives; a longer supply increases efficacy and recent studies have shown that a one-year supply of contraceptives is associated with a 30% reduction of the likelihood of an unplanned pregnancy[2].
  4. H.620 also expands coverage to include vasectomies, which would bring men’s contraceptive insurance coverage in line with women’s current benefits.

Giving Vermonters greater access to use the form of contraceptive that makes sense for them is crucial for reducing unintended pregnancies, and consequently increasing “women’s wages, participation in the workforce and increased educational outcomes,” as Rep. Kiah Morris (D-Bennington) explained.

VPIRG supports H.620 as a means of providing high quality, affordable health care to Vermonters and helping to reach the state’s goal of 65% planned pregnancies by 2020. To read VPIRG’s testimony for H.620, click here.

 

[1] http://healthvermont.gov/hv2020/documents/hv2020_healthy_lifetime.pdf

[2] Foster D, Parvataneni R, de Bocanegra H, Lewis C, Bradsberry M, Darney P. Number of oral contraceptive pill packages dispensed, method continuation, and costs. Obstet Gynecol 2006; 108:1107-14