Earlier this week, Senate Republicans took the first major step toward repealing the Affordable Care Act which ensures free access to contraceptives for millions of American women. With replacement plans for Obamacare still shrouded in uncertainty, many women are understandably concerned that they might lose this valuable reproductive healthcare service. Following the election of Donald Trump in November, many healthcare clinics struggled to keep up with demand as women raced to stock up on long-acting birth control options like implants and IUDS.
Fortunately for New Yorkers, State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is taking steps to protect access to free birth control, even if the Affordable Care Act is successfully repealed. On Wednesday, January 11 Schneiderman introduced the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act to the state legislature—a bill designed to “protect and enhance New Yorkers’ access to cost-free contraception.”
If passed by the state legislature, the bill would “require state-governed health insurance policies to provide cost-free coverage for all FDA-approved methods of birth control, including emergency contraception.” It would also prohibit insurance companies from enacting restrictions that can limit or delay contraceptive access. In the future, the bill would automatically cover men’s contraceptive methods in the same fashion as women’s contraceptives. Another provision included in the bill would allow people to access up to a year’s worth of contraceptive options at a time.
“New Yorkers have a right to comprehensive, cost-free access to birth control. With the Affordable Care Act under attack in Washington, it’s all the more critical that New York act now to protect these right,” said Schneiderman in his announcement. “The Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act will ensure that all New Yorkers have access to the birth control method they need to stay healthy and effectively plan for their future—no matter what happens in congress.”
Following Schneiderman’s announcement, the proposed bill was received enthusiastically by a number of state lawmakers. If all goes well, the bill will make its way to Governor Cuomo’s desk and become a law this year.