Reproductive Rights Leaders Introduce Protect Access to Contraception Act in Special Session
By Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota Action Fund, Inc. | July 15, 2020, 4:29 p.m.
The bill would protect Minnesotans from the recent Supreme Court decision that allows employers to drop employees’ birth control coverage.
St. Paul, MN — Today, reproductive rights leaders in the Minnesota House of Representatives and the Minnesota Senate introduced a bill in special session to protect Minnesotans’ access to birth control. The bill would ensure birth control coverage for thousands of Minnesotans following a recent ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court that allows businesses and universities to drop employees’ birth control coverage for religious or moral objections.
Justices Ginsberg and Sotomayor wrote the dissenting opinion in the Court’s 7-2 decision issued last week. Under the ruling, if employers object to birth control, they can carve out birth control coverage in employee health insurance plans, effectively eliminating access to affordable care for tens of thousands of Americans.
For years, reproductive rights leaders in the Minnesota legislature have been working to pass the Protect Access to Contraception (PAC) Act, which would put into state law the Obama-era requirement that most employers cover contraception. The PAC Act does not force houses of worship, religiously affiliated nonprofits, or closely-held corporations to cover birth control.
"Politicians have been working relentlessly to take away birth control ever since it was invented. Now, the Supreme Court has allowed employers to exclude birth control from workers’ health insurance coverage, and that’s just plain wrong," said Sarah Stoesz, President of Planned Parenthood Minnesota North Dakota South Dakota Action Fund. "But we all need to know—Minnesota can fight back. With state legislation, we can protect our access to birth control. It is within our power and it is up to us to buck extreme ideologies and protect Minnesotans’ health care. I am glad reproductive rights leaders in the Minnesota House and Senate are working to protect affordable birth control and I’m baffled that the Senate majority refuses to even hold a hearing on the PAC Act to hear from Minnesotans about the importance of birth control."
The Protect Access to Contraception Act will:
- Guarantee that FDA-approved categories of contraceptive drugs, devices, and supplies are covered by insurance without co-pays;
- 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.
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 and 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.
Founded in 1992, the Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota Action Fund is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit organization. As the advocacy and electoral arm of PPMNS, we mobilize supporters of all parties to defend and increase access to family planning services and fact based, medically accurate sexuality education. We work to inspire and engage citizens to take up the cause of reproductive health and rights through education, electoral activity, grassroots organizing and legislative advocacy.