California wants to make vasectomies free

California lawmakers are considering a bill that would require health insurance companies to cover vasectomies in addition to other forms of non-prescription birth control such as condoms and contraceptive sponges. The Contraceptive Equity Act of 2022 would also prohibit state-regulated commercial insurance plans from charging customers for out-of-pocket expenses such as co-payments or deductibles.

The bill is a game changer to expand on what many usually think of when it comes to birth control legislation. Laws regarding pregnancy are often written for people with wombs. Forms of contraception such as birth control, IUDs, and vaginal rings are included in legislation aimed at enabling reproductive justice. But if justice is the ultimate goal, lawmakers need to start including birth control options for people with testicles like this bill.

“It’s quite groundbreaking in that regard — it’s a whole new framework for thinking about contraception as something that’s relevant to people of all genders,” Liz McCaman Taylor, senior attorney at the National Health Law Program, an advocacy group that works for the Health rights of low-income people, told Los Angeles Times.

If passed, the new law would apply to all health insurance policies issued, amended, renewed or issued on or after January 1, 2024.

The US House of Representatives also passed a similar bill in late July called the Right to Contraception Act, also known as HR 8373. Introduced by North Carolina Congresswoman Kathy Manning.

  • Establishes a legal right for individuals to obtain contraception and a corresponding right for healthcare providers to provide contraception and contraception information;
  • Protects against state laws trying to limit access to contraception;
  • Allows the Department of Justice and providers and individuals harmed by restrictions on contraceptive access to bring a civil lawsuit against any state or government official who violates their right to contraception; and
  • Protects a range of birth control methods, devices and medications used to prevent pregnancy, including but not limited to oral contraceptives, emergency contraception and intrauterine devices.

The federal law is endorsed by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Center for American Progress, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the National Organization for Women, to name a few.

A vasectomy is a form of birth control that involves cutting off the sperm supply from the semen. According to the Mayo Clinic, this is done by cutting and sealing the vas deferens in an outpatient procedure. While a vasectomy is technically reversible, factors such as age, time since the vasectomy, and previous fertility problems can determine whether or not a vasectomy reversal is successful.

Many people know they don’t want children, and living a child-free life is perfectly fine. Making vasectomies free for those who are sure they don’t want to become parents is one of many steps we must take to ensure reproductive justice for all.

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