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BOISE – Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii (PPVNH) is deeply disappointed by the failure of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee today to advance legislation that would provideIdahoans access to a full 12-month supply of contraception. This is the latest action by the legislature to restrict reproductive health care and rights, after they passed two draconian bills to restrict access to abortion care last week. At a time when access to contraception is under attack by the Trump administration, the people of Idaho need their elected officials to take action to defend their reproductive rights and access to health care, not shy away from medically-necessary legislation.

As of 2018, 11 states and the District of Columbia have adopted 12-months-of-birth-control legislation. Nearly nine in 10 women of reproductive age will use contraception at some point in their lives, whether for family planning or other medical reasons. In fact, 58 percent of all women who use the pill rely on it — at least in part— for something other than pregnancy prevention. This common-sense legislation would provide Idahoans with the freedom to receive uninterrupted access to birth control, which is essential for positive health outcomes and shouldn’t be tied up in partisan politics.

Statement from Mistie Tolman, Idaho State Director, PPVNH:

“The state legislature’s failure to address the needs of their constituents by expanding access to birth control is unacceptable. At Planned Parenthood, we know that access tocontraceptives is a basic right that gives people control over their own bodies and life paths.In fact, over half of the people who take birth control do so for reasons other than pregnancy prevention, including endometriosis, fibroids, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and menstrual regulation. Their failure to advance this bill out of committee does nothing to address the need for greater access to birth control which will have major impacts on the health outcomes of Idahoans. Instead of wasting time passing bills that restrict healthcare, the legislature should address the needs of their constituents and increase access to birth control across our state.”

With unintended pregnancy at a 30 year low, birth control has given people the power to choose if and when they become pregnant. Even with this progress, affordable birth control and other care in Idaho remain out of reach for far too many people, especially young people, people of color, people with disabilities, those who live in rural areas, and people with low incomes. This critical reproductive health legislation would help to eliminate gaps in contraceptive use for many rural communities, which is associated with a 30 percent decrease in unintended pregnancies and a 46 percent reduction in abortions.

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.