NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia

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Birth Control
Comprehensive Sex Education
Healthy Pregnancies, Births, and Families

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Birth Control

Birth control empowers women to decide whether and when to have a family. We advocate for the expansion of access to birth control to help women prevent unintended pregnancy and protect their health.

The Problem:

99% of American women will use contraception at some point in their reproductive life. About 43 million American women of reproductive age are sexually active and do not currently want to become pregnant. But consistent, affordable access to their chosen birth control method remains unnecessarily difficult for far too many women in our communities. [1]

Many anti-choice politicians and groups are just as hostile to birth control as they are to abortion. They work to restrict access to contraception, particularly for low-income women and women who work for certain employers.

Insurance Coverage Gaps

  • Insurance plans should fully cover contraception without a copay as an essential benefit – and most now do, thanks to Obamacare. But Virginia employers are still permitted to purchase insurance plans that don’t fully cover birth control. This forces women to pay out of pocket for contraception.

Restrictive Birth Control Options

  • Insurance companies can still offer selective coverage of some methods of contraception. For example, an insurer may provide coverage of only one type of birth control pill, unnecessarily restricting women’s access to other safe and effective methods of contraception that may work better for them.
Contraception Access for Uninsured and Low-Income Women
  • We need to protect and expand programs that help uninsured and low-income women access their full range of birth control options so they can choose the method that's right for them. This includes expanding awareness of and access to the most effective methods, long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) such as IUDs and hormonal implants. In 2016 and 2017, anti-choice politicians in the General Assembly blocked a proposed pilot program to help underserved populations learn about and access LARC services.

Title X, Plan First, and other Family Planning Programs Under Attack

  • Programs that provide family planning access for vulnerable Virginians, such as the federal Title X program and the state Plan First program, are underfunded and frequently under attack. Virginia politicians also continually attempt to ban specific health care facilities like Planned Parenthood from participating in these programs, which would off an important part of the family planning safety net for tens of thousands of Virginians.

Our Solution:

We need to ensure that all women have affordable, consistent access to the full range of birth control methods, so they can plan to have children if and when it is right for them.

  • We advocated for the successful passage of HB 2267 in the 2017 General Assembly session. This bill will require all insurance plans sold starting in 2018 to include coverage for receiving a yearlong supply of prescription hormonal birth control at one time when prescribed by a health care provider, helping to remove obstacles to continuous and effective birth control use. Learn more.

  • Protect insurance coverage of contraception and pass a contraceptive equity law in Virginia, requiring that all employment-based insurance plans cover methods of birth control. Contraceptive equity laws guarantee that insurers provide comparable coverage for FDA-approved methods of contraception as prescription medications covered by that plan.

  • Protect contraception access at pharmacies – including access to over-the-counter emergency contraception – and ensure pharmacists cannot refuse to fill a woman’s birth control prescription.

  • Support Title X and state programs that help low-income and under-insured Virginians access contraception affordably at family-planning clinics.

  • Educate Virginians about their contraception options and about their rights in obtaining contraception and having it covered by their insurance.

[1] "Contraceptive Use in the United States.” Guttmacher Institute, September 2016.

Additional Information:
It's critical that more women have accurate information and access to emergency contraception (sometimes known as "the morning-after pill") to help prevent pregnancy after contraceptive failure, or in cases of sexual assault.
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