The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Christina DiPasquale,, 202.716.1953 

Anna Zuccaro,, 914.523.9145

NARAL Pro-Choice America Calls for Swift Passage of OTC Birth-Control Bill Introduced Today in House of Representatives


Today, Reps. Tammy Duckworth, Patrick Murphy, and Joe Crowley introduced the Affordability Is Access Act, a bill that would build on the contraception coverage guarantee in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by ensuring that health plans cover the sale of all over-the-counter birth-control pills that are FDA approved. This is the House companion to the Senate bill of the same name introduced by Sen. Patty Murray in June.

Sasha Bruce, senior vice president of campaigns and strategy for NARAL Pro-Choice America released the following statement:

"Women literally can't afford politicians who claim to support access to affordable birth-control but do nothing to back it up. That's why we are proud to support the Affordability Is Access Act. Unlike the typical attempts to ban birth-control and abortion under the guise of protecting women's health, this bill is a real step forward in guaranteeing women access to basic reproductive-health care.

"Access to affordable birth control is a significant way to reduce the need for abortion services, which should be a shared goal on both sides of the aisle. The Affordability is Access Act is a chance for Speaker Boehner and other anti-choice members to stand on common ground with us and give women the family-planning tools they need.

"NARAL is proud to support pro-choice champions like Reps. Duckworth, Murphy, and Crowley who believe that a woman - not her pharmacist, boss, or backwards politician -- has the right to decide when, if, and how to have a child."

The Affordability Is Access bill:

* Guarantees that any daily birth-control pill approved by the FDA for sale without a prescription will be covered by health insurance.

* Builds on the ACA's no-cost contraceptive-coverage benefit - so women are guaranteed no-cost birth control at least two ways.

* Guarantees that a store clerk cannot refuse to let you purchase the pill, when it is approved for sale without a prescription. (Note: the bill does not require every store to stock the pill - but those that do cannot then refuse to sell it.)

* Reinforces the essential principle that health experts at the FDA - not politicians - are the ones that decide which medications are safe and effective for over-the-counter sale.

The ACA birth-control benefit protects access to birth control without a copay for more than 55 million women. In the first year it was available, American women and families saved $483 million on their birth control pill prescriptions alone thanks to this benefit.

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.