WASHINGTON, D.C. –Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) introduced the Affordability is Access Act (AAA) to help ensure that people across the country can access and afford over-the-counter birth control options and plan their own reproductive lives, on their own terms. The bills comes as the Supreme Court appears poised to overturn Roe v. Wade and eliminate women’s constitutional right to abortion. Companion legislation was introduced in the House by Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and Ami Bera, M.D. (D-CA).
“Women have a right to control their bodies and their futures—that includes if, when, and how to start a family. With far-right Republican governors and state legislatures passing archaic bans on abortion and a radical Supreme Court set to overturn 50 years of precedent, we need to make sure every single person can access and afford birth control,” said Senator Hirono. “There is an all-out assault on reproductive freedom—and we’re just weeks away from women across the country waking up to find out they no longer have a constitutional right to an abortion. We’re fighting back—and that starts with passing this legislation.”
As Republicans work around the clock to rob people of the ability to plan a family on their own terms—including by banning abortion and attacking access to birth control—Democrats are focused on making sure people can get the birth control they need without being forced to pay out-of-pocket or jump through unnecessary hoops. The Affordability is Access Act would ensure that once the FDA determines an over-the-counter birth control option to be safe, it approves it without delay—and would ensure that insurers then fully cover over-the-counter birth control without any out-of-pocket costs. The legislation addresses the reality that for many—especially those with the tightest budgets—true access requires affordability.
A new poll released this week shows strong, bipartisan support for expanding access to birth control: 71% of Americans say they support allowing birth control to be sold over-the-counter, and 84% say that expanding access to birth control is important with the Supreme Court set to overturn Roe v. Wade.
The Affordability is Access Act will:
In addition to Senators Hirono, Murray, and Cortez Masto, the Senate bill is also co-sponsored by: Senators Brown (D-OH), Baldwin (D-WI), Reed (D-RI), Schatz (D-HI), Blumenthal (D-CT), Markey (D-MA), Smith (D-MN), Menendez (D-NJ), Kaine (D-VA), Merkley (D-OR), Sanders (D-VT), Cantwell (D-WA), Whitehouse (D-RI), Gillibrand (D-NY), Heinrich (D-NM), Klobuchar (D-MN), Wyden (D-OR), Stabenow (D-MI), Booker (D-NJ), Rosen (D-NV), Warren (D-MA), Shaheen (D-NH), Duckworth (D-IL), Hassan (D-NH), Bennet (D-CO), Feinstein (D-CA), Peters (D-MI), Padilla (D-CA), Leahy (D-VT), and Murphy (D-CT).
The legislation is endorsed by: Power to Decide, Catholics for Choice, Physicians for Reproductive Health, National Women's Law Center, Reproductive Health Access Project, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice, URGE: Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity, Contraceptive Access Initiative, NARAL Pro-Choice America, American Atheists, American Public Health Association, National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, National Partnership for Women & Families, Upstream USA, Center for Reproductive Rights, National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health, Population Connection Action Fund, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, National Health Law Program, Coalition to Expand Contraceptive Access (CECA), Advocates for Youth, and Ibis Reproductive Health.
Read full text of the Affordability is Access Act here.