[Sen. Pavley] – Women in California will have more reliable and effective access to birth control under a bill approved by the Senate on Friday and sent to Gov. Jerry Brown.
SB 999, by Senator Fran Pavley, would require public and private health plans to cover the dispensation of hormonal birth control for a period of up to 12 months – a change that would eliminate the need to obtain refills every 30 or 90 days.
The 12-month option is recommended by the National Centers for Disease Control, and research has shown that it reduces unintended pregnancies by 30 percent.
“Women who are working, raising families or attending college – and, sometimes, a combination of all three – can’t always find time to run off to a drug store to refill an ongoing prescription,” said Senator Pavley. “This change will make their lives easier and dramatically reduce the risk of unintended pregnancy.”
The bill would allow doctors, in consultation with their patients, to prescribe birth-control pills, patches or rings for a period of up to 12 months. Current law already requires insurers to cover contraceptives; the change would simply allow them to be dispensed in a manner that is more convenient and effective.
The bill, which was approved by the Senate on a bipartisan, 30-6 vote, is 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.
It is supported by leading health health-care groups, including the California Medical Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the California Primary Care Association.
Gov. Brown has until Sept. 30 to act on all bills sent to him by the Legislature in August, the final month of the two-year lawmaking session.