Nearly half of American pregnancies occur without pre-planning, and almost two-thirds of women between the ages of 15 and 49 do use contraceptives. Unfortunately, some of their experiences at pharmacies have begun to get ugly.
Pharmacy employees have intimidated, harassed, and even threatened women simply trying to fill a prescription, and that number continued to grow. This is all because particular employees have a difference in personal beliefs about contraception.
Over 100 House and Senate Democrats in both chambers reintroduced legislation to protect people trying to buy Food and Drug Administration-approved birth control at their pharmacy, according to The Rewire News Group exclusive.
The Access to Birth Control Act would also ensure pharmacies provided contraceptives to any and all customers with a prescription in hand, and that would include emergency contraception (EC) and related prescriptions.
Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) released a statement that read:
‘During the Trump Administration, some health care providers—including pharmacists—denied patients care simply based on their personal views. Health care providers must do their jobs based on science—not ideology—and we cannot let this dangerous trend continue.’
Pharmacies would be required to give customers the birth control they wanted “without delay” under The Access to Birth Control Act. Should they be out of stock, pharmacies could either send patients to another business or order that contraception prescription. The act also protects patients from being confronted by employees’ intimidation, threats, or harassment.
If pharmacies break that law, they would be responsible for civil penalties of $1,000 per day and a maximum of $100,000.
Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced their bill in the Senate. Representatives Katie Porter (D-CA), Robin Kelly (D-IL), and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) did so on the House side
Murray’s released a statement that read:
‘[A]nd make clear that no one should be able to come between a patient and the birth control they need—including being turned away at the pharmacy.’
Thus far, 22 senators and 99 House representatives have offered their support to the legislation. In addition, 50 local and national advocacy organizations have supported it, too, such as the Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood.
The National Women’s Law Center cited at least 25 states that have refused to fill birth control prescriptions or emergency contraception prescriptions:
‘Reports of pharmacies refusing to fill prescriptions for birth control or provide EC have surfaced in at least twenty-five states across the nation, including: AZ, CA, DC, GA, IL, LA, MA, MI, MN, MO, MT, NH, NJ, NY, NC, OH, OK, OR, RI, TN, TX, VA, WA, WV, WI.’
In addition, the coronavirus pandemic has thrown just one more wrench into the women’s already difficult lives. Almost 33 percent of women seeking contraception have been delayed.
The Rewire News Group is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit media organization dedicated solely to “reproductive and sexual health, rights, and justice.”
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