Health and Education, Policy Updates
What’s the 12 Month Supply Bill?
by Megan Plassmeyer on Apr 19, 2018
Did you hear the news? This week we launched #12DaysofAdvocacy in honor of the last twelve days left in the 2017-2018 legislative session. The first bill we focused on is the 12 Month Supply of Contraception bill. This bill would allow a woman to receive up to a 12 month supply of contraception at a time.
Contraception is an essential part of women’s preventive health care and should remain affordable and accessible for all women of reproductive age. Access to reliable contraception gives women and men the ability to plan their families, which expands their educational and employment opportunities, and improves the health of both mothers and children. Lowering logistical and financial barriers for the consistent use of contraception will maximize its health, social, and economic benefits.
By giving women access to a one year’s supply of birth control at a time:
- South Carolina can curtail high rates of unintended pregnancy by following the lead of 11 states and the District of Columbia which require insurers to cover an extended supply of contraceptives at one time.
So what’s the hold up? Here’s how to handle opposition:
“What if a woman loses her pills?”
We understand that pills could be lost or destroyed, but this can happen with a 1, 3, or 12 month prescription. Furthermore, when states have enacted similar bills, they have found that the rates in which women misplace or lose contraception is very low. In fact, recent data from one of these states has indicated that the percentage of clients that received an excessive quantity (ended up needing more than a one year’s supply) was almost negligible (1.2%). Better idea: instead of asking what happens when a woman loses a pill, let’s ask “why is it that we aren’t trusting women?”
“What if a woman is experiencing side effects and decides she wants to change prescriptions?”
Physicians understand that unwanted side effects can be an anticipated problem with a new prescription. Physicians are not required to write a 12-month prescription and they will determine in consultation with their patients what duration of prescription is appropriate, like situations where a woman may be trying a new form of contraception for the first time.
“Shouldn’t we just support LARCS (Long Acting, Reversible Contraceptives)?”
WREN continues to support and recognize the positive impacts of LARCs, but we realize this isn’t the best form of birth control for everyone and these questions are best decided by a woman and her doctor.
The 12 Month Supply bill is helping ensure dependable, uninterrupted access to the medication women need. In a state where the rate of unintended pregnancy hovers around 50 percent, dispensing a one-year’s supply of birth control at a time removes a significant barrier to dependable birth control access and family planning ability, especially for rural families and those living with transportation issues. Take action today in support.