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Governor McAuliffe Signs Proactive Reproductive Health Bill Into Law
Arlington, Va. – In front of a group of women’s health advocates this afternoon, Governor Terry McAuliffe signed HB 2267, a bill requiring all health insurance plans sold in Virginia starting in 2018 to include coverage for women to receive up to a 12-month supply of hormonal birth control at one time when prescribed by a licensed health care provider.
HB 2267, introduced by Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn (D-41), passed overwhelmingly in the House (94-1) and Senate (34-6). Of the 10 proactive reproductive health and rights bills introduced in the 2017 General Assembly, HB 2267 is the only one to pass the General Assembly. The same bill was introduced during the 2016 session, but was quickly defeated in committee in both chambers.
"We are thrilled that this proactive reproductive health bill passed the General Assembly with overwhelming bipartisan support this year,” said Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia. "Ensuring Virginia women have better and easier access to birth control is just common sense. Women lead busy lives and reducing obstacles to consistent birth control use is just one more way women can be supported in their family planning decisions. Having access to consistent, reliable birth control helps build happy, healthy, and strong communities and families.”
"That said, it’s shocking we’ve waited more than a decade for the Virginia General Assembly to pass a bill that proactively improves reproductive health care access,” Keene continued. "This is a small step in the right direction for the General Assembly toward enacting the polices we need to support all Virginia women’s control of their reproductive health and their family’s economic security. We look forward to working more with both Republicans and Democrats in coming years to continue making reproductive health care more accessible to women across the commonwealth.”
Right now, most women’s insurance only covers them to receive one- or three-month supplies of their birth control at one time, even if they have a prescription for a full year. Public health experts recommend dispensing a longer supply to help reduce gaps in use so women can use their birth control as effectively as possible. A 2011 study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that dispensing a twelve-month supply of oral contraceptives to patients at one time reduced the likelihood of unintended pregnancy by 30% and the likelihood of abortion by 46%. This policy is particularly important for women who live in rural areas, women who lack reliable access to transportation, young women away from home at school, mothers who juggle multiple work and family commitments, and anyone else who has trouble getting to the pharmacy within a narrow window each month.