Last month, we shared how Planned Parenthood is launching pro-women’s health initiatives in more than a dozen states. But we’re not just fighting to protect reproductive rights — we’re also helping to expand them.
And guess what? We’re already making progress. Proactive, positive legislation is becoming the law of the land faster than you can say “reproductive rights.” Check it out.
In New Jersey, reproductive health care restored
The first bill Gov. Phil Murphy signed this year expands access to reproductive health care for New Jerseyans by restoring funding to Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health care providers. The bill reversed a measure put in place by former Gov. Chris Christie, who slashed New Jersey’s family planning budget in 2010 by $7.5 million — effectively blocking Planned Parenthood patients from getting the care they need for the past eight years. Throughout his campaign, Gov. Murphy promised to protect women’s health care access, and signing this bill into law shows that the governor is making good on this promise.
In Maine, supporters stood up for the ACA
The Pine Tree State just took a huge step in protecting the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In a 30-4 vote, state senators in Maine overrode extremist Gov. Paul LePage's veto of a preventive care bill. Now, Maine insurance companies must cover preventive care services, as they currently do under the Affordable Care Act. This way, if anti-women politicians continue to chip away at the ACA, women in Maine will still have access to critical preventive services like cancer screenings and annual exams.
In Washington state, increased abortion access
Thanks to a new forward-looking bill, all insurance companies that cover maternity care are now required to cover safe, legal abortion for Washington women. The bill also includes coverage for contraceptives without out-of-pocket costs — including everything from birth control pills to IUDs. As Gov. Jay Inslee said, the law will “make sure that women have access to the full spectrum of health care they need without cost barriers or stigma." The legislation adds to the governor’s long record of supporting access to abortion.
In Washington, D.C., better birth control access
Mayor Muriel Bowser signed legislation to increase birth control accessibility and affordability for women in the nation’s capital. Under the law, pharmacists will be able to prescribe up to a 12-month supply of birth control. It also requires that patients have access to co-pay free birth control. The measure, which removes the need for doctor visits, makes taking care of your reproductive health a whole lot easier.
In Utah, improved insurance
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed a new law that expands insurance via Medicaid to people who fall into a “coverage gap,” or those who earn incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid, but not high enough to afford private health insurance. Approximately 45,000 women in Utah — who are disproportionately women of color — fall in this coverage gap and are without insurance coverage, which means that this initiative is a win for women across the state.
This is in addition to another recent Utah bill that would allow women to get birth control directly from a pharmacist rather than visiting a doctor every time they want to obtain or renew a prescription — making contraception much more accessible.
These bills will make a big difference for women’s health and lives. But unfortunately, we’re still fighting bad bills, too. For example, politicians in states across the country are launching full-on attacks on access to safe, legal abortion. In fact, half of all states have already introduced at least one type of abortion ban this year alone.
That’s why it’s more important than ever to keep pushing for pro-women’s health initiatives, and resist the ones that try to take us back. Are you with us?
Top 3 ways to take action