Picking up prescriptions is so routine for most people. Walk in to the pharmacy, get your medication, and leave. That’s how it should always work: smooth, simple, no barriers to care. But it doesn’t always work that way for birth control. Sometimes, a pharmacist refuses to fill a birth control prescription or sell someone over-the-counter emergency contraception. If you need birth control, that health need should be the highest priority. That’s why protections, like those in the Access to Birth Control (ABC) Act, introduced today, are so critical.
Sen. Cory Booker and Rep. Carolyn Maloney introduced the ABC Act to protect people who need birth control from these types of situations. These refusals are not based on legitimate medical or professional concerns, but rather a pharmacist’s personal beliefs. But no one should be forced to leave the pharmacy without the birth control they need. It can have devastating consequences for their health, lead to unintended pregnancy, and have a negative impact on their wellbeing and economic security. The ABC Act requires pharmacies to have protocols that ensure anyone seeking birth control will be able to leave with their medication in hand and their dignity intact.
The Trump Administration is leaving no stone unturned in its attempts to make it more difficult to get birth control: expanding exemptions to the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit, and dramatically restructuring the Title X family planning program. Instead of making it harder for people to get the health care they need, we should be prioritizing efforts like the ABC Act. The ABC Act is only one step towards ensuring everyone can access birth control when they need it, but it is an important one.
If you have experienced a pharmacy refusal, please contact the National Women’s Law Center at 1-866-PILL4US.