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BOISE – Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii (PPVNH) praised the introduction of a new bill yesterday, 12 months of birth control, that would dramatically reduce barriers to birth control access. The bill will ensure that all women in Idaho have consistent access to birth control by allowing them to receive 12 months at a time, meaning they would only have to return to the pharmacy once a year. The bill is the first of its kind in Idaho and follows a growing trend across the country to ensure consistent access to reproductive health care. Co-sponsors of the bill are Senator Cherie Buckner-Webb and Representative Melissa Wintrow.

The print hearing was held earlier today, where the Health and Welfare committee members heard about the benefits of 12 months of birth control from Senator Buckner-Webb, who presented the bill to the committee. A public hearing has not yet been scheduled.

“Planned Parenthood Votes is proud to support this commonsense solution to remove birth control barriers in Idaho. At a time when our elected officials are chipping away at women's health care access, Idaho can move in a proactive direction and reduce barriers to health care,” said Mistie Tolman, Idaho Legislative Director. “People lead busy lives, and for many women, going to the pharmacy every month is not always convenient. Allowing women to choose to fill their year-long prescription all at once reduces those barriers, ensuring consistent use of contraceptives.”

In 2018, 11 states and the District of Columbia have adopted 12-months-of-birth-control legislation. Women without reliable access to transportation or living in rural areas have more barriers to dependable access to birth control, leaving them at a greater risk for unintended pregnancies. By allowing women to get 12 months of birth control at a time, Idaho will take a substantial step toward reducing barriers to birth control access and decreasing unintended pregnancies.

“We all deserve affordable and accessible birth control that works for us, regardless of our income or insurance carrier.,” said Senator Maryanne Jordan, Senate Health and Welfare committee member. “One in four women say they have missed pills because they could not get the next pack in time. We support this commonsense legislation to expand women's access to basic health care because it helps reduce barriers to contraceptives, help women plan their families and avoid unintended pregnancy, and saves money for Idaho families.”

Consistent access to birth control gives women the ability to control when and if they have children, giving them more career and education opportunities, healthier pregnancies, and making them less likely to depend on government programs. Today, most women have to refill their birth control every month. This is a burden for many that can lead to inconsistent use, which accounts for 43 percent of all unintended pregnancies.