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Contraceptive Equity Act Passes VA Senate Committee

"Everyone should be able to choose for themselves whether and when to become a parent"

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From Progress Virginia:

Contraceptive Equity Act Passes Senate Committee

Richmond, Virginia—This afternoon, members of the Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor passed SB1112, sponsored by Senator Ghazala Hashmi. The bill makes it easier for everyone who needs it to access birth control by requiring insurance companies to cover birth control without cost sharing. This is already federal law but is now on its way to being enshrined in Virginia law. The bill will now go to the full Senate for a vote.

“We’re thrilled that the Contraceptive Equity Act has passed the first hurdle to becoming law today. Everyone should be able to choose for themselves whether and when to become a parent, and access to birth control is a crucial part of making that a reality. No one should be prevented from accessing the birth control they need due to how much it costs,” LaTwyla Mathias, Executive Director of Progress Virginia, said. “Passing this bill is an important step towards bringing Virginia code in line with federal law, and we hope that it will continue through the legislative process and become law.”

Background: 

  • Some of the most cost-efficient contraceptive methods, like IUDs and implants come with steep up-front costs. Up to 40% of lower income women in the United States would use a different contraceptive method if cost were not a factor.
  • More than 19 million Americans live in contraceptive deserts—regions in which there is reduced or non-existent access to the full range of healthcare options, including diverse contraceptive methods.
    • About 400,000 people in Virginia face barriers to accessing the contraception they need. Given the fact that they live in a contraceptive desert, these individuals specifically, have to spend more funds on transportation and childcare trying to access it.
  • Because of structural and environmental health disparities uniquely impacting Black, Indiginous, and people of color, and gender expansive people, economic and administrative barriers to contraceptive care make treating chronic reproductive health conditions and preventing pregnancy more difficult for Virginians that are already experiencing barriers to care. This includes Virginians living in “contraceptive deserts” or counties without a single health center offering the full range of contraceptive methods.
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