Birth control is basic health care and should be much easier for all women in Washington to access.
FOR a sense of the inconvenience women sometimes face trying to access basic health care in this country, look up comedian Amy Schumer’s birth-control skit for her Comedy Central show. At the end of the video sketch, an exasperated Schumer is reminded she has to come back to a pharmacy again the next month for a refill.
The satirical video became an online sensation because it reflects in part the experiences of millions of women relying on contraceptives to avoid getting pregnant.
No birth control (aside from abstinence) is 100 percent effective, but consistent and correct usage of the various federally approved methods could save people — and the government — considerable time and money. The consequences of unplanned pregnancies vary, from economic hardship for families to worse maternal outcomes and more abortions.
Here in Washington, half of all pregnancies are unintended. That’s why expanding access to birth control should be a priority for the state Legislature.
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A bipartisan group of lawmakers in both chambers are sponsoring a sensible and important bill to broaden women’s health services to help with prevention. Women of this state are better served when lawmakers are able to look beyond abortion politics and understand the importance of prevention.
HB 2465 and its companion bill in the Senate, SB 6369, would ensure that women are able to receive up to a 12-month supply of birth control at the same time. Contraceptives including pills, patches and rings would be covered by private and public insurance plans and dispensed on-site at providers’ offices when available.
Convenience is crucial.
A 2011 study by the University of California in San Francisco found that unintended pregnancy rates decreased by 30 percent when women had steady access to an annual supply of birth control compared to those who received standard prescriptions for refills every 30 to 90 days.
Last year, Oregon became the first state in the nation to require insurers to cover a year’s worth of contraceptives at a time.
Washington should be next.