U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) today introduced the Access to Birth Control (ABC) Act, legislation to ensure that any woman with a valid prescription is not denied or intimidated when requesting birth control or emergency contraception at pharmacies.
"Sadly, in some states individual pharmacists are using their personal views as a basis to deny women access to birth control," Sen. Booker said. "The Access to Birth Control Act keeps pharmacists out of a woman's personal family planning decisions and ensures women have timely, unhindered access to contraception."
"All women deserve the right to make their own private decisions concerning their health, and to do so free from discrimination or harassment," Booker added. "Given the Supreme Court's recent disturbing ruling in the Hobby Lobby case, we need to go on theoffense to protect women's reproductive rights."
The Access to Birth Control Act ensures women's timely access to reproductive health care. It requires pharmacies to help a woman obtain her prescribed type of contraceptive. If the requested product is not in stock, it requires a pharmacy to order the prescription, refer the woman to another pharmacy, or return the prescription -- whichever scenario the woman chooses.
The billwas introducedfive times previously by the honorable U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg. Sen. Booker is proud to carry on the New Jersey tradition of fighting to protect women's rights.
The Access to Birth Control Act is cosponsored by Sens. Murray (D-WASH), Menendez (D-NJ), Blumenthal (D-CT), Boxer (D-CA), Brown (D-OH), Feinstein (D-CA), Franken (D-MN), Gillibrand (D-NY), Sanders (D-VT), Tester (D-MT), Whitehouse (D-RI), Wyden (D-OR), Warren (D-MA), Baldwin (D-WIS), Hirono (D-HI), Kaine (D-VA), Markey (D-MA), Begich (D-AK) and Shaheen (D-NH).
What supporters of the Access to Birth Control Act are saying:
"Contraceptives help to improve the health of our nation's women and children. They help women control the timing and number of births, reducing the risk of low birth weight and preterm births," said Dr. John C. Jennings, President of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. "Now, more than ever, we need to ensure that women have timely access to the contraceptives that play an essential role in preventive care."
"It is unbelievable that we're still fighting to protect access to birth control in 2014," said Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards. "Decisions about birth control should be between a woman and her doctor, not her pharmacist, her boss, or her Congressman."
"When women go to the pharmacy to pick up birth control, they are looking for their medicinenot a lecture of obstruction from pharmacists who believe they know better than us about our health care choices," said Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.
"Access to birth control is tremendously important for women's basic preventive health care, for their ability to plan families, and for expanding economic opportunities," said Ed Remsen, Executive Director, Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey. "A woman's rights shouldn't depend on her zip code, and we are grateful for Sen. Booker's efforts to help ensure that women have access to care no matter where they live."
Supporters of the Access to Birth Control Act include:
·Advocates for Youth
·American Association of University Women (AAUW)
·Center for Reproductive Rights
·Jewish Women International
·National Organization for Women
·NARAL Pro-Choice America
·National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum
·National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association
·National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
·National Women's Law Center
·National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW)
·Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health (PRCH)
·Planned Parenthood Federation of America
·Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
·Reproductive Health Technologies Project
·Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS)
·Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations (UUA)