(Extensions of Remarks - February 14, 2013)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E148]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []



                        HON. CAROLYN B. MALONEY

                              of new york

                    in the house of representatives

                      Thursday, February 14, 2013

  Mrs. CAROLYN B. MALONEY of New York. Mr. Speaker, today I am proud to 
introduce the Access to Birth Control (ABC) Act with my colleagues 
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, John Conyers, Jr, Gwen Moore, David 
Cicilline, Barbara Lee, Chellie Pingree, Janice Hahn, Sam Farr, Charles 
Rangel, Jerrold Nadler, Keith Ellison, Diana DeGette, James Moran, Rush 
Holt, and Scott Peters. Special thanks go to Senator Frank Lautenberg 
for introducing the Senate version of the bill.
  This legislation ensures women's timely access to basic, preventative 
health care and ensures that women of age will not be denied birth 
control or emergency contraception by their pharmacist. The ABC Act 
also requires pharmacies to help a woman obtain medication by her 
preferred method if the requested product is not in stock and protects 
women from being intimidated when requesting contraception.
  Family planning is central to women's basic health care. Thanks to 
the Affordable Care Act women can receive contraceptive coverage and 
other preventative services without a copay. While this is great news 
to the millions of women using some form of birth control, barriers to 
contraceptive access still persist. According to the National Women's 
Law Center, at least 24 states across the country have reported 
incidents where pharmacists have refused to fill prescriptions for 
birth control or provide emergency contraception to individuals who do 
not require a prescription. Furthermore, six states permit refusals 
without patient protections such as requirements to refer or transfer 
prescriptions and seven states allow refusals but prohibit pharmacists 
from obstructing patient access to medication.
  Denying contraception to women represents an erosion of a woman's 
constitutional right of access to contraception and a threat to women's 
basic health care. Access is especially important for women living in 
rural areas who may not have multiple pharmacies near them and low-
income women who lack the resources to find an alternative pharmacy in 
the appropriate time frame.
  The use of birth control is widespread, with 99 percent of women 
having used contraceptives at some point in their life. Now that 
insurance plans are required to cover birth control, Congress must act 
to make sure that women receive timely access to both prescription and 
over the counter contraception at the pharmacy counter.