Hirono Reintroduces Access to Birth Control Act
US Senators Mazie Hirono of Hawaiʻi, Cory Booker of N.J., and fifteen of their Senate colleagues reintroduced the Access to Birth Control Act. The measure would require pharmacies and pharmacists to provide women with birth control and emergency contraceptives without undue delay.
“Women’s reproductive rights must not be restricted in any manner – whether it is the right to end a pregnancy or the right to access birth control,” Senator Hirono said. “Pharmacists should not be able to interject their own personal beliefs to deny women prescribed medication. I will continue to do everything I can to protect women’s health and their right to control their bodies.”
“Birth control is a vital part of reproductive health care and basic family planning,” Senator Booker said. “No person should be denied access to birth control because of someone else’s views – including at the pharmacy.”
Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center also commented saying, “The Access to Birth Control Act is brave legislation that prioritizes patients’ health and ensures women can access the birth control they need. No patient should ever be denied care based on the personal – not medical – beliefs of their pharmacist. Family planning is central to good health care, and we’ll continue to support legislation that boldly recognizes that.”
The Access to Birth Control Act specifically requires that:
- A pharmacy provide contraceptives or related medication to a customer on request;
- If the contraceptive or medication is not in stock, the pharmacy must inform the customer and offer to either refer or transfer the prescription to another pharmacy or to order the medication to that pharmacy to be picked up at a later date and;
- A pharmacy and its employees not intimidate or interfere with a customer’s access to contraceptives.
Advocates say access to prescription birth control and emergency contraception is an essential part of women’s health care.
According to Sen. Hirono, reports of pharmacies refusing to fill prescriptions for birth control or provide EC have surfaced in at least 25 states. As pharmacies are generally regulated by the state, laws regarding access to EC vary across the country.