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Pennsylvania Sen. John Fetterman introduces bill to make contraception easier to access

The legislation would allow those with private insurance plans to receive a full year’s worth of contraceptives at one time rather than be limited to a month-by-month supply.

By Emily Singer - July 25, 2023
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John Fetterman
Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) arrives for a vote at the U.S. Capitol, July 18, 2023. (Francis Chung/POLITICO via AP Images)

Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) on July 21 introduced the Convenient Contraception Act, a bill that, if passed, would allow people covered by private insurance plans to receive a 12-month supply of contraceptives at the time their doctor writes a prescription.

While 23 states have increased the number of months of contraceptives insurers must cover at one time, people in most states can only get up to three months’ worth of contraceptives at once.

Fetterman’s office said in a news release that restricting the amount of contraceptives a patient can obtain under a prescription creates an “unnecessary burden” and raises the likelihood that people could have gaps in taking them.

“Convenient and reliable access to contraceptives reduces unintended pregnancies, improves maternal health outcomes, and promotes equity,” Fetterman said in a news release. “I will continue fighting to expand contraceptive access and protect reproductive freedom.”

A study from the University of San Francisco Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health from 2011 found, “Dispensing a one-year supply is associated with a 30% reduction in the odds of conceiving an unplanned pregnancy compared with dispensing just one or three packs.”

Fetterman introduced the bill, along with 18 other Democratic senators, at a time when Republican-controlled states are banning abortion or making the procedure nearly impossible to access, forcing people to continue their pregnancies against their will.

Democratic senators who signed on to co-sponsor the legislation made this point when announcing their support for the bill.

“With Wisconsin women living under an archaic 1849 criminal abortion ban without the freedom to control their bodies, it is more important than ever that they can easily access safe, effective birth control,” Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) said in the statement posted by Fetterman’s office. Abortion in Wisconsin is currently illegal, after an 1849 law still on the books in the state went back into effect following the Supreme Court’s reversal of the landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade that had affirmed the right to an abortion before 24 weeks’ gestation.

The statement notes that the Convenient Contraception Act has the support of medical associations and reproductive rights groups, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; Catholics for Choice; In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda; NARAL Pro-Choice America; the National Council of Jewish Women; and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

While Democrats control the Senate, it’s unclear whether the bill has the support of enough GOP lawmakers to reach the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster and advance the legislation to a vote.

In the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, meanwhile, lawmakers continue their efforts to curtail reproductive freedom.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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