Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus are stepping forward to make sure Montana women have access to needed preventative health care.
Tester and Baucus are backing legislation that would prevent pharmacies from discriminating against Montana women by denying them the sale of contraceptives. The Senators point to independent research by the Institute of Medicine that found access to contraceptive care is an important piece of women's overall preventive health care.
"The decision about contraceptives should be left up to a woman and her doctor," Tester said. "This bill keeps pharmacists out of a woman's private decision and increases her access to care."
"Every Montanan should be treated with respect and dignity when seeking the medicines prescribed to them by their doctors. This bill protects Montana women from discrimination and upholds their rights to make private health care decisions with their families and doctors," Baucus said.
Tester and Baucus' bill also prevents pharmacy employees from intimidating, threatening or deceiving a customer to keep them from receiving a contraceptive.
Under the Senators' bill, pharmacies who choose never to carry contraceptives will not be required to do so, but those who do carry it must provide it to all customers with the required prescription from their doctors, without discrimination. A pharmacy employee may still refuse to provide a contraceptive if the customer does not have a prescription.
Tester and Baucus are also backing a Senate resolution that says access to comprehensive reproductive health care is a critical component of improving the health and well-being of women and their families.
Tester and Baucus recently helped pass the Violence Against Women Act that will reduce the rate of domestic and sexual violence against women and children.