House Committee Hears Testimony on Expanding Access to Birth Control

Dems continue working to secure reproductive health care rights, bills allow pharmacists to write prescriptions for contraceptive medicine

LANSING, Mich., March 5, 2024 — Members of the Democratic Caucus testified today in support of House Bills 5013, 5435 and 5436. This bill package expands the coverage of birth control supplies for up to 12 months, allows pharmacists to write prescriptions for contraceptives and requires health insurance to cover these prescriptions. 

“My bill requires insurance companies to cover the prescriptions written by pharmacists for birth control. This requirement will help reduce out-of-pocket costs and/or co-pays for patients, ultimately saving them money. This is about opening access and providing coverage for people to exercise their reproductive freedoms. Access to safe, affordable birth control is part of reproductive freedom. Democrats will keep fighting hard and putting people first to protect and in this case expand access to reproductive health care” said state Rep. Stephanie A. Young (D-Detroit), sponsor of HB 5435.

Reps. Young and Hope are seated at a table with microphones, giving testimony in the Health Policy Committee.

State Reps. Stephanie A. Young (D-Detroit) and Kara Hope (D-Holt) testify before the House Health Policy Committee regarding House Bills 5435-36 on Tuesday, March 5, 2024.

According to a recent report, more than 19 million women of reproductive age living in the U.S. are in need of publicly funded contraception and live in contraceptive deserts

Living in a contraceptive desert means that they lack reasonable access in their county to a health center that offers the full range of contraceptive methods. Protecting reproductive freedoms is one of the ways Democrats continue to put people first. 

“As a health care provider, I recognize the need for access to adequate health care and believe that dispensing a year supply of contraceptives will help ensure continuous and consistent use. Particularly for people who work, go to school, raise children or have other demanding schedules like working multiple jobs — this helps alleviate the burden of making a trip to the pharmacy every month or every three months. This would also help those who live in rural areas or lack reliable transportation to visit their physician frequently. Access to contraception is not just for those who choose to use it for family planning purposes. Many medical conditions including endometriosis, menstruation related symptoms, and polycystic ovary syndrome all use contraception as a treatment,” said state Rep. Julie M. Rogers (D-Kalamazoo), sponsor of HB 5013.

A recent report from Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan revealed that one-third of Michigan’s 83 counties lack OB-GYNs, with even major urban centers like Detroit experiencing a scarcity of these essential health care providers. By leveraging the expertise and accessibility of pharmacists, this legislation aims to establish contraceptive access points across Michigan, particularly in underserved areas where health care resources are scarce, and eliminate barriers such as out-of-pocket fees. This is one of the reasons Democrats continue to fight for reproductive freedoms.

Around 1.2 million people who live in contraceptive deserts often must find a babysitter, take time off work or travel long distances to access their preferred birth control method. 

“Allowing pharmacists to prescribe birth control gives Michiganders seeking reproductive health care more freedom to access their preferred method of birth control. With pharmacists and patients empowered in this way, Michigan can reduce health inequities,” said State Rep. Kara Hope (D-Holt), sponsor of HB 5436.