Women use birth control for many reasons, including to avoid getting pregnant before they are ready. Making birth control accessible and affordable is the most effective way to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies.
Unfortunately, anti-choice extremists who are opposed to birth control for ideological reasons have worked to restrict access to contraception. Employers who want to deny their employees coverage of contraception won at the Supreme Court in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. In our state, religious pharmacists sued for the right to refuse to fill prescriptions for emergency contraception, which prevents pregnancy when taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex; although the pharmacists’ effort was unsuccessful, we remain vigilant for future legal assaults on women’s right to access contraception.
In 2017, Washington State legislators took an important step toward making birth control accessible to all women, by passing a law that requires insurance companies to provide 12 months of birth-control pills at a time. But with provisions of the Affordable Care Act mandating preventive coverage, including birth control, in jeopardy, it’s up to state legislators to ensure that women in Washington State continue to have access to no-cost birth control through their insurance plans. NARAL Pro-Choice Washington will work to ensure that women in our state are able to access affordable contraception regardless of where they live or how much money they make.