WASHINGTON - JUNE 6 - Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) today applauded Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Chris Shays (R-CT) and Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) for introducing the “Access to Birth Control (ABC) Act.” The act addresses the growing and troubling trend of pharmacy refusals, protecting women's access to birth control at pharmacies and guaranteeing they will receive prescriptions and over-the-counter products in-store, without discrimination or delay.
PPFA, the nation's largest provider of emergency contraception (EC), applauded the ruling:
“Emergency contraception and other forms of birth control are basic health care for women. It is 2007 — any woman should be able to walk into any pharmacy, anywhere in the country, and get birth control, including emergency contraception, without discrimination or delay,” said PPFA President Cecile Richards.
“As America’s leading reproductive health care advocate and provider, Planned Parenthood knows firsthand the importance of timely access to backup birth control. Life is unpredictable and every woman deserves every chance to prevent an unintended pregnancy when a condom breaks, a pill is forgotten, or she has intercourse when she did not plan to or want to.
“Congress should pass the Access to Birth Control Act to ensure that any woman who needs birth control is able to get it,” Richards concluded.
Birth control refusals are a disturbing trend that jeopardize women’s health and safety. Ninety-eight percent of American women use birth control at some point in their lives, yet in at least 19 states, women have been denied it at the pharmacy counter. If a pharmacist on duty refuses to dispense birth control, then the pharmacy must ensure that another employee on staff provides the birth control for the customer without delay.
The bill would require a pharmacy that normally stocks other forms of contraception but does not have the requested birth control in stock, to either locate another pharmacy of the customer's choice or a nearby pharmacy that has the birth control in stock, and refer the patient or transfer the prescription. If the customer prefers, the pharmacy can order the item using the standard expedited procedure for ordering medication.
Since 2004, PPFA has worked with the nation's largest pharmacy chains to help them put in place customer-friendly policies that protect customers' access to legal, medically appropriate medications. Through PPFA's Fill My Pills Now campaign, Aurora Pharmacy, Inc., CVS, Eckerd Corporation, Fagen Pharmacy, Kmart Pharmacy, Medicine Shoppe, Rite Aid Corporation, Walgreens, and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., have adopted nationwide corporate policies that protect women's access to birth control, in-store, without discrimination or delay. The policies ensure that customers will now receive their prescriptions or over the counter products without discrimination and without delay.
For more information on pharmacy refusals, including a state-by-state guide to major pharmacy chains and their policies regarding access to birth control, please visit http://www.fillmypillsnow.org/ and http://www.plannedparenthood.org/.