In 2017, as politicians in the White House and Congress played political games with basic health care access and reproductive rights, Massachusetts advocates organized quickly to advance reproductive rights locally.
That year, Massachusetts passed the ACCESS law, which ensures that Massachusetts residents continue to have access to affordable birth control, safeguarding them from persistent federal attacks. With broad support from Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund supporters, the state legislature and Governor Baker, the passage of the ACCESS law demonstrates the collective desire to fight back against Trump’s anti-woman agenda and to solidify Massachusetts’ role as a leader in health care access and equal rights for all.
The Trump administration took aim at women’s health care
Since Day One of the Trump administration, the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts knew access to affordable birth control was at risk. Recognizing the profound role birth control plays in the lives of women and people across the state, we sprung to action and advocated for legislation that would protect Massachusetts residents from the Trump administration, now known as the ACCESS law. We partnered with Senator Harriette Chandler, Representatives Pat Haddad and John Scibak, and coalition partners to introduce the bill into the Massachusetts Legislature.
In October of 2017, after President Trump failed numerous times to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Trump administration slashed birth control coverage. Trump issued a rule that would gut ACA protections of birth control coverage by allowing employers to deny insurance coverage for birth control for any reason. Not only was this dangerous act unconstitutional, it jeopardized the birth control access of 62 million women across the country, 1.4 million of whom live in Massachusetts. We needed to act fast.
Affordable birth control is the law of the land
Across the state, the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund supporters fought back. Our advocates called, emailed, and met with their state lawmakers, demanding they pass ACCESS. Their activism was indicative of a wide support for affordable birth control. In Massachusetts, over 90 percent of voters believe contraception is a basic preventive service that should be affordable for everyone, and 81 percent support passage of a state law guaranteeing no-copay insurance coverage of contraception.
Our voices were heard. Within weeks of the Trump administration rolling back ACA birth control protections, the ACCESS bill passed the Massachusetts House of Representatives 140-16 and unanimously passed the Massachusetts Senate, 27-0. Governor Baker signed the ACCESS bill into law on November 20, 2017. Responding to the groundswell support, Massachusetts became the first state to act since President Trump gutted federal birth control coverage protections.
How the ACCESS law works
The ACCESS law was a monumental victory for Massachusetts residents. The law:
Decisions regarding birth control are best left to patients and their doctors. The ACCESS law ensures that remains the case in Massachusetts.
This would not have been possible without you
The ACCESS law would not have passed without strong, vocal advocacy from our supporters. The support was overwhelming:
We must continue to fight for birth control
The ACCESS law went a long way to protect Massachusetts women, but there is still work to do. State laws cannot regulate certain employer-sponsored insurance plans that are governed by federal laws only. About 30 percent Massachusetts workers rely on these self-funded insurance plans, making them vulnerable to President Trump’s attacks on birth control. That is why Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey sued President Trump over his unconstitutional rule, and Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts filed an amicus brief in support of her efforts.
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