Oregon Birth Control: Private Insurance Must Allow 12-Month Supply Of Contraceptives To Women

Oregon birth control is about to get a lot easier for women. On Tuesday, a unanimous Senate approval with bipartisan support voted to make birth control in the state available for women to collect a 12-month supply from their doctors in a single visit. The bill is now headed for the governor’s desk for signature, Fox News reports.

The law requires private insurance to allow women to receive a year’s supply of birth control. A separate bill will allow pharmacists to dispense contraceptives directly without physician approval; this was passed on Tuesday by the House with a vote of 50 to 10. That bill is on its way to the state Senate.

This is a breakthrough law for the U.S. in a time where more states are restricting birth control instead of expanding it, the report reveals. The Oregon birth control expansion is a first. No other states require insurance companies to pay for a 12-month supply of contraceptives.

ABC News reports that in 2013, a similar bill was passed in the California legislature, but it came with a lot of provisions and hasn’t been implemented.

The Oregon birth control proposal from Republican Representative Knute Buehler, would go into effect on January 1, 2016. The Oregon Catholic Conference plans to testify in opposition of the new bill.

The organization’s spokesman, Todd Cooper, raised questions about the legislative vote.

“Is there an unexamined assumption that expanded access to birth control is a good thing? Will this encourage sexual activity on the part of young girls and boys? And what are the consequences of that?”

Buehler deems this bill as a “common-sense solution that will reduce unintended pregnancies,” the report states. He adds that the plan would create “consistency,” since the law allows for the purchase of over-the-counter of the morning-after pill.

“It became apparent to me that right now people can get emergency contraception without a physician visit, but they can’t get preventive contraception.”

Additionally, the Oregon State Pharmacy Association supports the plan, but says “several studies have demonstrated that women can self-screen for contraindications to hormonal therapy. In some cases, women are more likely to identify contraindications than their health care provider.”

“A huge part of this is just the convenience,” says Lisa Anderson, an activist in Portland for women’s rights. “It’s an extra trip in your day, and the fact you can just walk into your pharmacy and have that anonymity — that’s huge.”

The Oregon birth control bill is a huge relief to women who need contraceptives in order to avoid unwanted pregnancies. It’s a milestone vote that could lead other states to reconsider their stance on contraceptives.

[Photo by Evening Standard / Getty Image]

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