Planned Parenthood is backing a bill in Maryland that will mandate pharmacies cannot charge a co-pay or cost of any kind for over-the-counter birth control methods for women and men.
The abortion organization charges that Maryland’s Senate Bill 686 is critical to the health of Maryland residents because it will encourage them to use more birth control methods and result in less unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.
“If people use condoms routinely every time that they have sex, then it will prevent a variety of things it will help prevent STDs, HIV infection, unintentional pregnancies, those kinds of things,” Program Manager of the Communicable Disease Program at Wicomico Health Department Olivia Butler said, according to WMDT.
The bill mandates coverage for all over-the-counter contraceptive methods and devices approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that can be obtained without a prescription. The bill also prohibits co-pays of any kind and would protect birth control and condoms from incurring costs. The measure does not clarify, however, whether it would cover the costs of other contraceptive devices like female condoms, sponges, spermicide and the morning after pill.
Planned Parenthood also announced it will spend $20 million dollars in states with upcoming Senate and governor races where Democrats are likely to win. “Reproductive rights and health is at stake in this country and has been at stake for years, but especially this year,” Planned Parenthood Action Fund Director Deirdre Schifeling said Thursday, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “We think this is critical, critical for protecting, and hopefully expanding, access to reproductive health care in the states.”
Planned Parenthood’s $20 million campaign comes largely in response to a number of 2017 pro-life legislative successes. Nineteen states adopted 63 new restrictions on abortion access in 2017, according to a Jan. 2 Guttmacher Institute report. This is the largest number of enacted abortion restrictions in a year since 2013. (RELATED: Here’s Where Planned Parenthood Will Spend $20 Million It Made From Killing Unborn Babies)
In addition to 2017-implemented restrictions, U.S. states have passed 401 anti-abortion policies that span back to January 2011, according to Guttmacher Institute. Lawmakers in 30 states have also presented abortion bans for consideration, and six states put abortion bans into law in 2017, Guttmacher reported.
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