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Joined by U.S. Representatives Ayanna Pressley (D-MA-7), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14), and others today Senator Murray introduced legislation to ensure that over-the-counter birth control is accessible, affordable 

Senator Murray’s legislation makes clear to Republicans that any meaningful effort to increase access to over-the-counter birth control must ensure affordability

#FreeThePill: “1 in 3 women who have tried to get prescription birth control face obstacles.”

Senator Murray: “Women seeking contraceptive care shouldn’t find they have to pay extra, ask permission, or hurdle barriers put up by politicians who think their ideology is more important than a woman’s personal health care decisions” 

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), top Democrat on the Senate health committee, introduced the Affordability is Access Act (AAA), legislation to ensure over-the-counter birth control is affordable and accessible for women in Washington state and across the country.  A longtime champion for women’s reproductive freedom, Senator Murray was joined in her efforts by Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D-MA-7), Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14), Congressman Ami Bera M.D. (D-CA-7), and Congresswoman Katie Hill (D-CA-25) who introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

The Affordability is Access Act works to address the reality that you can’t have access without affordability by ensuring that when federal regulators approve birth control pills for over-the-counter use, they will be covered without cost sharing and without requiring a prescription. This would expand access to affordable birth control for women, including those in communities that face health disparities and greater challenges getting the care they need, such as women of color, women with disabilities, low-income women, and women in rural areas.

“Women seeking contraceptive care shouldn’t find they have to pay extra, ask permission, or hurdle barriers put up by politicians who think their ideology is more important than a woman’s personal health care decisions,” said Senator Murray. “While President Trump and Vice President Pence have been focused on putting up barriers and making it harder for women to get the care they need, I’m fighting to tear them down and pushing for steps like this legislation to make it easier for all women to access affordable birth control. I hope Republicans who have spoken about increasing access to over-the-counter birth control will support this bill and acknowledge the reality that you simply can’t have access without affordability.”

The legislation is part of Senator Murray’s ongoing work to combat the Trump-Pence Administration’s continuous efforts to undermine women’s health, including its efforts to roll back protections that prevent women from being charged extra for birth control and to sabotage the Title X family planning program which helps women across the country get affordable health care—including contraceptive care.

The Affordability Is Access Act (AAA) will:

  • Ensure coverage of comprehensive preventive health services and expand coverage to include full access to oral contraception for routine, daily over-the-counter use for all women. All private health insurance plans are now required to cover all U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved methods of contraception. The Act would ensure coverage of all oral contraception that the FDA has approved or regulated for routine, daily use without a prescription.
  • Maintain the FDA’s sole authority to determine the safety and efficacy of drugs and make them available over-the-counter without a prescription. It is imperative that the entities that research and develop oral contraceptives, and whose medical and scientific experts have developed clinical and other evidence that birth control pills are safe and effective for women when sold without a prescription, apply to the FDA for review and approval for sale without a prescription.

Upon the receipt of such an application, the FDA must determine whether the contraceptive product meets the rigorous safety, and efficacy standards for over-the-counter use, as established by the agency Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. If the product meets such these standards, the FDA should approve the application without delay.

  • Ensure Retailers Provide Oral Contraception without a Prescription. The Act states that any retailer that stocks oral contraception that the FDA has approved or regulated for routine, daily use without a prescription may not interfere with a consumer’s access to or purchase of such contraception.

See the text of the Affordability Is Access Act (AAA) HERE.

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