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The bill would protect Minnesotans from the July 2020 Supreme Court decision that allows employers to drop employees’ birth control coverage.

As yesterday's special session of the Minnesota Legislature opened, reproductive rights leaders introduced a bill to ensure birth control coverage for thousands of Minnesotans. 

The federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) made birth control free to most Americans.  However, a July 2020 U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowed employers who object to birth control by claiming religious or moral obligations to eliminate birth control coverage from employee health insurance plans.  This ruling is expected to eliminate access to affordable birth control for tens of thousands of Americans. Furthermore, in November, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case seeking to overturn the ACA completely, which could further undermine access to birth control and health coverage for millions of Americans.

The Protect Access to Contraception (PAC) Act (HF 4) introduced yesterday would put the ACA birth control requirement into Minnesota state law, requiring that most employers cover contraception.

The Protect Access to Contraception Act will:

  • Guarantee that FDA-approved categories of contraceptive drugs, devices, and supplies are covered by insurance without co-payments;
  • Ensure that medically necessary contraceptives, as recommended by a health care provider, are covered without co-payments and without interference by employers; and
  • Allow Minnesotans to receive up to 12 months of birth control at a time, covered by insurance.

“The Supreme Court ruling that undermines the ACA would hurt millions of Americans, but we can still protect Minnesotans who need and deserve birth control services,” said Sarah Stoesz, President of Planned Parenthood Minnesota North Dakota South Dakota Action Fund.  “With the increasingly radical direction the Supreme Court is taking, state leaders must step up to protect basic health care for their constituents.”

Public opinion polls consistently find overwhelming nonpartisan support for improving access to birth control services. For instance, a May 2019 survey conducted by the non-partisan, nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) found that 76 percent of Americans said it was “very important” (60 percent) or “somewhat important” (16 percent) that “the federal government provides funding for reproductive health services, such as family planning and birth control for lower-income women.”  The survey found that a majority of Independents, Republicans and Democrats agreed with that statement.

Fast facts on birth control:

  • Nearly 9 in 10 women of reproductive age will use contraception at some point in their lives.
  • 58% of women who use the pill rely on it, at least in part, for something other than pregnancy prevention.
  • 14% use birth control solely for medical reasons, such as treating endometriosis or fibroids.
  • The American Medical Association, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Public Health Association all view contraception as critical to women’s health.
  • One-third of the wage gains women have made since the 1960s are attributed to birth control access.
  • In states with greater reproductive health care access, including birth control coverage, women are more likely to be managers, work full time, have higher wages, and experience upward job mobility.

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