Health and Education, Policy Updates

WREN Testimony on 12-Month Supply of Contraception Bill

by WREN Staff on Mar 9, 2017

WREN is pleased to report that on International Women’s Day, H.3809, a bill that would require insurance providers to cover a one-year’s supply of birth control at a time, passed through subcommittee on to the House Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Committee.

Click here to watch the full video of the subcommittee hearing.

And click here to send an email to committee members asking for their support.

Below is our CEO, Ann Warner’s, testimony:

Chairman Hart and members of the Health and Environmental Affairs subcommittee,

My name is Ann Warner and I am the CEO of WREN, the Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network, a statewide, non-partisan nonprofit that builds a movement to advance the health, economic well-being and rights of South Carolina’s women, girls, and their families.

Today I am here to ask for your support on H.3809, a bill that would require insurance providers to cover a one-year’s supply of birth control at a time.

A woman’s ability to choose whether and when to become pregnant has a direct and positive impact on her health, her education, and her economic well-being, as well as that of her children. Greater control over childbearing reduces rates of unintended pregnancies; contributes to healthier pregnancies; and increases the opportunities that women have to pursue education and advance their careers. While the benefits are numerous, the barriers to the consistent usage of contraception are also numerous. Women who lack reliable transportation, live in rural areas, or have complicated schedules face significant barriers to dependable birth control access. H.3809 will help alleviate many of these barriers, simply by allowing women to receive a year’s supply of contraceptives at one time.

Since Rep. Finlay and Bernstein have introduced this bill, we’ve heard from over 400 South Carolininas who support this bill. Here’s a sample of what we’ve heard from women across the state:

• Danielle J., a medical professional shares her experience that, “As an OB/GYN, I can attest to the barriers many of my patients face when trying to access contraception. The 12-month supply of contraception bill would help remove some of these barriers and allow women to lead healthy, productive lives.”
• Patti W. from Columbia explains what consistent, dependable access to contraception has meant for her life: “It was my consistent use of women’s health services that allowed me to keep from breaking the cycle of unintended teen pregnancy in my family. Because I got reliable access to birth control while I was young and unmarried, I never had to make the awful choice about whether or not to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, nor did I have to consider raising a child before I was ready and able to provide them a stable home to grow up in. Giving women more consistent access to birth control is good for women, children, and society as a whole.”
• Dvera H. reminds us of the medical benefits of contraception beyond family planning: “Although contraceptives are primarily considered prevention of unintended pregnancies, they are also used to control other medical conditions. My niece uses birth control to control severe menstrual cramps that keep her out of work. She’s an hourly worker, so she doesn’t get paid if she can’t go to work.

My daughter takes birth control to prevent debilitating menstrual migraines triggered by the hormonal fluctuations of her cycle. She has missed days of school due to migraines that confined her to her bed in a pitch black room. She is now in college away from home. We have had to call back and forth from her doctor at home to the clinic at school monthly for her to continue to receive her pills. Some we have had to pay out of pocket because she was between health insurance coverage at school and home and needed her medication on a monthly schedule for it to be effective, not on the schedule governed by the health insurance bureaucracy.”

• Lori D. from Clemson writes, “If you truly support economic and community development for all South Carolinians this is a step in the right direction. Women can stay engaged in education, the workforce and other community engagement when they can have some control over their reproductive future.”
• And Manisha P., a doctor from Greenville shares, “I am one of only 2 ACHD (Adult Congenital Heart Disease) doctors in our state that has watched unplanned pregnancies increase morbidity and mortality in my young women with palliated congenital heart disease.”

On behalf of these women and the thousands of South Carolinians, both women and men, who have benefited from contraception to plan their families, I ask that you vote yes to H.3809.
Thank you for your time.

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