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June 10, 2015 / Press Releases

Real OTC Birth Control Plan Introduced by Sen. Murray, NARAL Pro-Choice America Endorses Passage

June 10, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced the introduction of the Affordability IS Access Act, a bill that would build on the contraception coverage required in the Affordable Care Act by allowing FDA-approved birth control pills to be made available over-the-counter.

Sen. Murray was joined by Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America; Lucy Holland, a recent college graduate; the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG); and Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

Said Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America:

“Senator Murray’s bill is the only legislation that will protect the promise inherent to women in the Supreme Court’s decision fifty years ago to allow women to control their own reproductive destiny through birth control. This legislation offers greater access to women without punishing us financially for our decisions. 

“Other proposals are a cheap ploy by politicians seeking to distract from their anti-choice records and designed to charge women extra for the privilege of being last in line to choose the health care choice that is right for them—behind other politicians, bosses, insurance companies and drug store clerks. 

“We hope that others sign on to this real OTC plan from Sen. Murray to put women first.”

Sen. Murray’s “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.

Thanks to the birth control benefit, more than 55 million women are now eligible for birth control without a copay. 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.

Today, anti-choice Sens. Cory Gardner and Kelly Ayotte introduced a bill that claims to provide increased access to birth control by invalidating a key provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The contraceptive coverage benefit in the ACA requires insurance plans to cover all Food and Drug Administration approved methods of contraception at no additional cost and is one of the greatest advancements in women’s health in a generation.

This bill is just another attempt to mislead voters to believe that anti-choice politicians care about cost-free access to birth control and would do anything to reverse the ACA and overturn one of the greatest advancements in this generation.

In response to the bill’s introduction, Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America had this to say:

“The Gardner/Ayotte bill is a specifically designed to deceive voters into thinking these anti-choice legislators are on the side of women, when their track records tell a starkly different story.

This legislation hurts women by making affordable birth control less accessible while forcing women to pay twice for the same services. This effort is nothing but political pandering to trick women and families into thinking we are covered while dismantling one of the most critical gains in the Affordable Care Act.

Senators Gardner and Ayotte know they are imposing a tax on women for critical health care, and if they thought that we wouldn’t notice, they were sorely mistaken. Instead of hiding from the anti-choice views, they should own them and let the voters decide.

Women in this country know what family planning options work best for us and we deserve to have access to a wide range of birth control without paying extra.” 

NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates are dedicated to protecting and expanding reproductive freedom for all Americans. NARAL works to guarantee that every woman has the right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion. In recognition of its work defending our constitutional right to choose, Fortune Magazine described NARAL as “one of the top 10 advocacy groups in America.”


Everyone should be able to decide if, when, how, and with whom they start or grow a family.

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