Women in California will have more reliable and effective access to birth control under a bill authored by Senator Fran Pavley and signed by Governor Jerry Brown on Friday.
SB 999 requires 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.
“Given the demands of work and family, women can’t always find time to run off to a drug store to refill an ongoing prescription,” said Senator Pavley. “Unlike with other medications, to go even a day or two without birth control can result in a serious consequence. This change will make women’s 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 was 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.
On Thursday, September 29, Senator Pavley, Senator Bob Hertzberg and Planned Parenthood Los Angeles will be hosting a press conference in the San Fernando Valley to celebrate SB 999’s passage. A large coalition of women’s and public health organizations are anticipated to attend the community event.
The law will take effect Jan. 1, 2017.
Fran Pavley represents western portions of the Santa Clarita Valley in the state Senate.