June 14, 2019

Kaine Introduces Bill To Support Access To Affordable Over-The-Counter Birth Control

WASHINGTON, D.C. Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, joined Senator Patty Murray, ranking member of the Committee, to introduce the Affordability is Access Act (AAA), legislation to make sure over-the-counter birth control is affordable and accessible for women across the country.

“All Americans deserve affordable, accessible health care – period. It’s not fair that women too often face hurdles to accessing the care they need.” said Kaine. “I’m proud to be a part of this bicameral effort to expand access to birth control for women across the nation.”

The Affordability Is Access Act (AAA) will:

  • Ensure coverage of comprehensive preventive health services and expand coverage to include full access to oral contraception for routine, daily over-the-counter use for all women. All private health insurance plans are now required to cover all U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved methods of contraception. The Act would ensure coverage of all oral contraception that the FDA has approved or regulated for routine, daily use without a prescription.
  • Maintain the FDA’s sole authority to determine the safety and efficacy of drugs and make them available over-the-counter without a prescription. It is imperative that the entities that research and develop oral contraceptives, and whose medical and scientific experts have developed clinical and other evidence that birth control pills are safe and effective for women when sold without a prescription, apply to the FDA for review and approval for sale without a prescription.
  • Upon the receipt of such an application, the FDA must determine whether the contraceptive product meets the rigorous safety and efficacy standards for over-the-counter use, as established by the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. If the product meets these standards, the FDA should approve the application without delay.
  • Ensure Retailers Provide Oral Contraception without a Prescription. The Act states that any retailer that stocks oral contraception that the FDA has approved or regulated for routine, daily use without a prescription may not interfere with a consumer’s access to or purchase of such contraception.

Along with Senators Kaine and Murray, the bill is cosponsored by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tina Smith (D-MN), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).

The legislation has been endorsed by National Women's Law Center (NWLC), Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), In Our Own Voice, National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF), National Partnership for Women & Families (NPWF), National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA), NARAL, Planned Parenthood, Guttmacher Institute, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Physicians for Reproductive Health, and Power to Decide.

See the text of the Affordability Is Access Act (AAA) HERE.