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House Passes Bill To Ensure Access to Contraceptives in Pennsylvania

Rep. Leanne Krueger

In a bipartisan vote of 133-69, the Pennsylvania House passed legislation that would add state-level protections for contraceptive access in the Keystone State.

House Bill 1140, sponsored by Rep. Leanne Krueger (D-Delaware), would require all health insurance policies in Pennsylvania to provide coverage for all FDA-approved contraceptive drugs, devices, products and services, including emergency contraception and over-the-counter oral contraception without cost-sharing.

It also would create a new statewide standing order for contraceptives, issued by the Pennsylvania Secretary of Health or physician general, for all FDA-approved over-the-counter emergency contraceptive drugs and FDA-approved over-the-counter contraceptive drugs.

“Contraception is health care, plain and simple, and no one but a woman and her doctor should decide what medical care she has the right to receive,” Krueger said. “Pennsylvania currently has no protections in state law for contraceptive access, so attacks at the federal level jeopardize our access. Today’s vote is an important first step to ensuring access to contraception for all Pennsylvanians who need, want and deserve it.”

Krueger said efforts by extreme, anti-choice legislators and activists to deny people’s access to safe, proven and FDA-approved contraceptive methods to prevent pregnancy and treat other medical conditions prompted the need for this legislation that she has introduced every session since 2020. She said the legislation became more crucial when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade in its 2022 Dobbs decision and gave each state the authority to decide women’s reproductive rights.

To address safe patient access and continuity of care, the bill would require coverage for a three-month initial supply of contraceptives and a one-year refill of contraceptive drugs. It also would ensure confidentiality for individuals seeking contraceptives, mirroring HIPAA confidentiality requirements. The bill also would mirror federal law on religious exemption for birth control purposes. However, if contraceptives are prescribed to treat medical conditions, there is no religious exemption.

“We must have control over if and when we decide to start our families, but Pennsylvania has for too long allowed loopholes, exemptions and oversights to stand between us and our autonomy,” said Planned Parenthood PA Advocates Executive Director Signe Espinoza. “Rep. Krueger’s bill is an enormous shift toward control over our bodies, and we are thrilled to see the enormous support in the legislature. Access to contraception is essential, life affirming, and widely popular. We urge the Senate to take quick action.”

“Nine out of 10 women of reproductive age have used some form of contraception at some point in their lives, but many contraceptives are still difficult to access,” House Insurance Committee Chair Patty Kim (D-Dauphin) said. “I’m proud to vote to protect access to contraceptives so that women in Pennsylvania can choose the right time to start a family.

“No one right method of contraceptive care is right for everyone, and this bill keeps women in control of their own sexual and reproductive health.”

The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

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