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If you’re a woman in California, you may no longer have to worry about refilling your birth control prescription monthly thanks to a bill introduced in the state senate that if passed and signed into law would require all health care service plans and health insurance policies to pay for a 12-month supply of prescribed, self-administered contraceptives.

 

That means insured women who use FDA-approved birth control such as the ring, the patch and oral contraceptives will have access to a consistent, readily accessible supply of birth control.

For women not planning a pregnancy, having a consistent and readily accessible supply of birth control is essential. Studies show that receiving a 12-month supply of birth control is actually a health benefit and that there are serious health issues associated with running out.

In 2011, a study of more than 84,000 California women found that women who have a 12-month supply of birth control have a 30 percent lower risk of unintended pregnancy than women who must refill their prescription every one to three months.

Having a yearlong supply is especially beneficial for women with multiple jobs and those who live in rural areas because 30- to 90-day prescriptions can be an obstacle for effective and consistent use.

The bill is modeled after the nation’s largest publicly funded family planning program, California’s Family PACT program, which provides women with a prescription for 12 months of birth control. Last year, Oregon and Washington D.C. adopted similar measures to provide women with the same benefit.

The bill was introduced by Sen. Fran Pavley and sponsored by three of California’s leading reproductive health advocates – Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, the California Family Health Council, and NARAL Pro Choice California.

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