Planned Parenthood Praises Legislative Leaders and Governor Inslee for Championing 12 Months of Birth Control

SEATTLE – Today, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii (PPVNH) celebrated Governor Jay Inslee’s signing of HB 1234, a groundbreaking bill that dramatically expands access to birth control in Washington state. This bill, championed by Rep. June Robinson (D-Everett) and Sen. Steve Hobbs (D-Lake Stevens) among others, makes Washington state one of seven states, plus Washington D.C. to require insurance that provides birth control to dispense 12 months’ worth at one time, meaning that women will only have to pick up their prescription once a year.

“We all deserve affordable and accessible birth control that works for us, regardless of our income or insurance carrier,” said Elaine Rose, CEO of PPVNH. “It is an incredible win, especially right now. We applaud our legislative champions who are bucking the trend and standing up for women. For women all across the country, and right here in Washington state, birth control access has meant money in their pocket and now freedom to pick up their pills once a year.”

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 must refill their birth control every month, which is a burden for many and leads to inconsistent use. Women without reliable access to transportation or living in rural areas have more barriers to dependable access to birth control, leaving them at a greater risk for unintended pregnancies. By requiring that women get 12 months of birth control at a time, Washington state will take a substantial step toward reducing barriers to birth control access and decreasing unintended pregnancies.

“The passage of this bill makes reproductive health care that much more accessible. The fact that this bill passed a divided legislature at a time when health care access is being rolled back left and right is momentous. Many women, especially low-income women, women in rural communities and women of color face barriers that make it challenging to get the prescriptions they need. We are proud to be one of a few states in the country to offer 12 months of birth control and expand women's access,” said Representative June Robinson.

Consistent use of birth control is the best way to help women avoid unwanted pregnancies. Currently, 19 percent of women who inconsistently use birth control account for 43 percent of unintended pregnancies. Forty-six percent of women who unintentionally became pregnant report that they were using some form of contraceptives; providing one year of birth control at a time will increase consistent use and reduce unintended pregnancy.