The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Email:

NARAL Pro-Choice America Endorses Bill Guaranteeing Women's Access to Birth Control at the Pharmacy

As federal officials consider requiring insurance plans to cover birth control, congressional leaders want to make sure pharmacies won’t refuse to fill the prescription


Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, praised Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) for re-introducing the Access to Birth Control (ABC) Act, a bill to ensure that women receive their birth control at the pharmacy counter.

The bill's introduction comes one week after an Institute of Medicine panel of experts, recommended that insurance plans to cover birth control without a copay under the new health-care law. The Department of Health and Human Services will now decide whether to adopt the panel's recommendation and make no-cost contraception a benefit required by law.

"Americans are fortunate to have strong leaders like Rep. Maloney and Sen. Lautenberg who believe in guaranteeing women's access to contraception. We are proud to work with them to advance this bill and other policies that make a positive difference in the lives of women and their families," Keenan said. "This legislation comes as medical experts are recommending that contraception be covered by insurance plans in the new health-care system so that women can obtain birth control without a copay. The ABC Act would ensure that pharmacies fill women's prescriptions without delay or harassment."

Keenan also said that federal action is especially necessary since rogue pharmacists who are opposed to contraception are refusing to fill women's prescriptions, and only six states have laws that require pharmacies to fill women's birth-control prescriptions.

"The concept is simple: Women should be able to walk into a pharmacy and leave with the medication they need," Keenan said. "It is mind boggling that the same people who attack legal abortion also want to block women's access to contraception, which is one of the best ways to prevent unintended pregnancy and thus reduce the need for abortion."

NARAL Pro-Choice America also compiled a list of stories of women who have been denied access to birth control at the pharmacy counter.

For over 50 years, Reproductive Freedom for All (formerly NARAL Pro-Choice America) has fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom at the federal and state levels—including access to abortion care, birth control, pregnancy and post-partum care, and paid family leave—for everybody. Reproductive Freedom for All is powered by its more than 4 million members from every state and congressional district in the country, representing the 8 in 10 Americans who support legal abortion.