Booker, Maloney Sponsors Act to Ensure Pharmacy Access to Birth Control

Democratic Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey and Democratic Congressman Carolyn Maloney of New York supported appropriate Senate and House bills to introduce a law requiring pharmacies to provide “timely access to birth control.”

The bill, known as the Access to Birth Control Act, addresses the practice of pharmacies of refusing to sell certain contraceptives. Pharmacies that fail to comply with the law can face fines of $ 1,000 per day, the bill said.

Senators Patty Murray from Washington and Bob Menendez from New Jersey and MPs Robin Kelly from Illinois and Katie Porter from California also endorsed the bill, with over 100 other Democrats signing as co-sponsors.

The potential new law would violate guidelines in Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, and South Dakota that allow pharmacists to refuse to provide contraception.

“Birth control is an important part of reproductive health care and basic family planning,” Booker said in a statement. “At a time when reproductive rights are increasingly being attacked across the country, protecting American access to contraception is more important than ever. The Access to Birth Control Act would ensure that all people not only have autonomy over their health, but also affordable and timely access to birth control. “

According to the law, pharmacies cannot prohibit a patient from receiving their preferred contraceptive. Here, on January 2, 2013 in Lille, France, a person is holding contraceptive pills in a pharmacy.
Photo by PHILIPPE HUGUEN / AFP via Getty Images

In May, Texas Governor Greg Abbott passed a law banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, which went into effect in September. Since then, the Kaiser Family Foundation has seen “increased interest” on the part of the state in birth control.

With a Mississippi bill that broke the landmark Roe v. Wade, who is due to appear before the Supreme Court in December, challenges access to abortion could face further violations. Under the rule led by Booker and Maloney, Democrats could improve access to pregnancy prevention tools for those living in areas where pharmacies refuse to sell such products.

If a contraceptive is not in stock, the invoice indicates that the pharmacist must either transfer the patient to another pharmacy or order the medication, depending on which option the patient chooses. It also protects patients from being “intimidated, threatened or harassed” by employees who disapprove of their use of contraception

“During the Trump administration, some health care providers – including pharmacists – refused to care for patients simply because of their personal views,” Maloney said in a statement.

“Healthcare providers have to do their jobs based on science, not ideology, and we cannot continue this dangerous trend. I have been a passionate advocate of equitable access to reproductive health care for many years, and I will not stop fighting until everyone can access the care they need, when they need it. “

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