Colorado just took a major step toward making birth control more accessible for Colorado women.
This afternoon House Bill 1186 passed in a sweeping vote, which would allow women to pick up a one-year supply of birth control. This bill removes the burden of going to the pharmacy every month, which is difficult for many of our patients at Planned Parenthood – from those who live in rural areas to those who work jobs with varying and unexpected hours.
Many patients at PPRM choose to use monthly birth control, including the birth control pill, patch, or ring. These forms of birth control are popular because they’re safe, effective and easy to use. In fact, we know nearly a third (28.5%) of individuals who use contraception choose one of these three methods.
While monthly birth control is a great option, it can be a huge hassle to pick up on time each month. Women with private insurance can only pick up one month of their birth control at a time, forcing them to come back every three weeks or so. For some, this is merely an inconvenience; for others this means missing a few days, skipping packs, or stopping birth control entirely, potentially leading to unintended pregnancy.
Think about it: being able to get to the pharmacy requires a flexible job, reliable transportation, and free time in your schedule. Many folks simply don’t have this luxury. Some women, particularly those in our low-income and rural communities, have to make special accommodations to get to one of our health centers. This includes, for example, patients who have to come from across state lines to go to our Durango health center because of the lack of reproductive health care in their areas.
While we do everything we can to make birth control accessible for our patients, like extending health center hours, we need legislation like House Bill 1186 to expand women’s access to the necessary care they need. And the great thing is studies already show policies like HB 1186 work. A University of California study shows that among women who received a full years’ worth of pills, unintended pregnancy dropped by 30 percent and abortion dropped by 46 percent, compared to women who received one- or three-month packs.
Bottom line: When women have consistent access to birth control methods that work best for them, they can pursue their personal, educational, and career goals, and have more autonomy to decide when and if they want to have a family.
Cheers to the House for standing up for Colorado women!