LANSING, Mich., April 18, 2024 — At a pivotal moment in safeguarding reproductive rights, House Democrats continue to stand up for reproductive freedoms, acting today to make it easier for individuals to access birth control pills and hormonal patches. The legislation, House Bills 5436, 5435 and 5013, sponsored by state Reps. Kara Hope (D-Holt), Stephanie Young (D-Detroit) and Julie M. Rogers (D-Kalamazoo), respectively, allow pharmacists to prescribe self-administered contraceptives, require insurance coverage for these prescriptions and require insurers provide up to a year of coverage at one time. Democrats on the House Health Policy Committee passed the bills without a single Republican voting in support.

“At a time like this, it’s crucial that we empower and protect both medical professionals and patients,” said Hope, sponsor of HB 5436. “My bill would provide Michiganders more freedom to access their preferred method of contraception. This would be a significant step toward reducing reproductive health care disparities in our state and protecting people from medical neglect or resorting to harmful alternatives.”

With one-third of Michigan counties lacking OB-GYNs, including in major cities like Detroit, as well as rural areas, this legislation equips pharmacists to establish contraceptive access points, particularly in underserved areas, and provide people with an adequate supply of their preferred birth control method.

“This legislation is centered on equity and reproductive freedom,” said Young, who sponsored HB 5435. “By mandating insurance companies to cover pharmacist-prescribed birth control, we will decrease out-of-pocket expenses and co-pays for patients, making birth control even more accessible in Michigan.”

Being forced to undergo an exam in order to pick up routine medicine is yet another hurdle that is an unnecessary inconvenience. These medications are taken on a long-term basis, often by those managing hormonal health conditions unrelated to family planning.

“As a health care provider, I recognize the critical role of accessible health care. Providing a year’s supply of birth control ensures uninterrupted use, particularly for those balancing work, school, and parenting. This bill will also be beneficial for many Michiganders, including those residing in rural areas or those who face transportation challenges,” said Rogers, chair of the House Committee on Health Policy, who sponsored HB 5013.

House Dems believe family planning decisions are deeply personal and should remain free from political interference. While having made significant strides, like the decriminalization of abortion care and the enactment of the Reproductive Health Act, Democrats acknowledge reproductive freedoms are still under threat and will remain vigilant in ensuring all Michiganders can access the health care they need.

State Rep. Julie M. Rogers holds Health Policy Committee on April 18, 2024, at the Anderson House Office Building.