For The Second Time, State Legislature Fails Idahoans in Removing Barriers to Birth Control Access
Mistie Tolman, Idaho State Director, (208) 861-4371; and Rebecca De León, Communications Manager, (208) 608-2969
For Immediate Release: Feb. 17, 2020 (Updated: Feb. 17, 2020, 8:17 p.m.)
Senate Failed to Pass SB 1275 to Allow for Six Months of Birth Control at a Time
BOISE – Today, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii (PPVNH) expressed frustration over the State Senate’s inability to pass SB 1275, commonsense legislation that ensures preventive health care for Idahoans. This bill, which failed in a vote of 13-20 on the Senate floor, would have increased the amount of birth control that an Idahoan can access at a time from one month to six months, and would have ensured that all people in Idaho have consistent access to birth control by allowing this extended supply, meaning they would only have to return to the pharmacy twice a year. The bill is co-sponsored by Senator Cherie Buckner-Webb and Representative Melissa Wintrow and has garnered support from PPVNH, ACLU of Idaho, Southwest Idaho NOW, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
“The legislative body claims to care so deeply for women, pregnant people, and families, but goes out of its way to create and maintain barriers to access necessary health care,” said Mistie Tolman, Idaho Legislative Director at PPVNH. "This bill was a compromise because senators previously declared they wouldn’t support 12 months of birth control, claiming the length of time was the issue. Now, it is clear that they are simply not willing to improve access at all. This is deeply concerning and insulting."
Forty-six percent of women who unintentionally became pregnant report that they were using some form of contraceptives; providing six months of birth control at a time would increase consistent use and reduce unintended pregnancy. Additionally, many women use birth control to treat conditions such as endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and other medical conditions. Treating these conditions would be much easier if patients don’t have to make long trips to pharmacies each month.
“It is the duty of this Legislative body to ensure that people can access the resources they need,” Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb said. “Yet, time and again, my colleagues refuse to pass common-sense legislation.”
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. Currently, 20 states including California, Hawaii, Oregon, Colorado, and the District of Columbia already allow up to 12 months of birth control to be dispensed at a time. In addition, more proactive legislation, including measures on sex education and contraception access, was enacted in the first six months of 2019 than abortion restrictions and bans.
Both the CDC and the US Office of Population Affairs recommend providing or prescribing multiple cycles, ideally a full year’s supply of birth control to reduce barriers to care and facilitate consistent use of contraception.