PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Pennsylvania Sens. John Fetterman and Bob Casey are part of a group of legislators seeking to expand access to contraceptive products, including over-the-counter contraceptives.
A new bill, the Convenient Contraception Act, would allow patients with private health insurance to get a full year of contraception covered, as opposed to getting a three-month supply that is standard in many U.S. states. That requires patients to pick up their contraception prescription multiple times over the year.
The bill's Democratic sponsors say requiring multiple prescription pickups in a year has created an "unnecessary burden" that has further created "gaps in protection."
The effort comes just over a year since the U.S. Supreme Court.
Since thein the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization that sent abortion policy back to the states, .
"A woman's right to make her own health care decisions is sacred to me. I am proud to lead this first of its kind legislation to expand equitable access to contraceptives," Fetterman said in the release.
The legislators are also using the bill to spotlight the issue of inequities in access to contraceptive products.
"This bill will live up to the promise of the Affordable Care Act by reducing the barriers many women, particularly low-income women, face when it comes to family planning and maternal health. This is a commonsense policy to make it easier for women to fill their prescriptions," Casey said in the release.
According to the reproductive organization Power To Decide, in Pennsylvania, 752,340 women in need live in "contraceptive deserts." The organization says in a contraceptive desert, a woman faces a "lack of reasonable access in their county to a health center to a full range of [contraceptive] methods."
The group also found that 34,680 women in Pennsylvania live in counties without access to a single health care center that provides a full range of contraceptive methods.
Thousands of women aged 13-44 are in need of publicly funded contraceptive services and supplies at the local level, Power to Decide says.
- Philadelphia County: 147,790 women
- Delaware County: 29,570 women
- Bucks County: 21,570 women
- Chester County: 20,780 women
- Lancaster County: 29,300 women
- Berks County: 24,850 women
- Lehigh County: 22,090 women
- Montgomery County: 29,660 women
- Camden County: 29,090 women
- Gloucester County: 12,820 women
- Burlington County: 16,560 women
- Mercer County: 21,210 women
- 54,910 women
Legislators say they believe the bill is a solution to the aforementioned inequities experienced by women not only across the country but in the Philadelphia area.
"Convenient and reliable access to contraceptives reduces unintended pregnancies, improves maternal health outcomes, and promotes equity. I will continue fighting to expand contraceptive access and protect reproductive freedom," Fetterman said.
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