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Support the Access to Birth Control Act

This petition had 330 supporters

Urge the United States House of Representatives, the United States Senate, and President Obama to pass the Access to Birth Control Act in the 112th session of congress.

What is the Access to Birth Control Act a.k.a. ABC Act?

The Access to Birth Control Act (H.R.5309/S.3357), sponsored by U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY 14) and U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), that was introduced in the 111th congress.  The bill will help ensure that an individual's personal belief does not impede a woman's right to birth control by making sure pharmacies have policies in place to guarantee timely access at the pharmacy counter.

The Problem

Family planning is basic health care for women. Access to contraception helps women prevent unintended pregnancy and control the timing and spacing of planned births.

Women rely on prescription contraceptives for a range of medical purposes in addition to birth control, such as regulation of cycles and endometriosis.

Also, emergency contraception works like other hormonal birth control by preventing pregnancy. It also does not harm or terminate an already-established pregnancy

Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention included family planning in its published list of the Ten Great Public Health Achievements in the 20th Century, the United States still has one of the highest rates of unintended pregnancies among industrialized nations. Each year, 3,000,000 pregnancies, nearly half of all pregnancies, in the United States are unintended, and nearly half of unintended pregnancies end in abortion.

Reports of pharmacists refusing to fill prescriptions for contraceptives, including emergency contraceptives, have surfaced in States across the Nation, including Alabama, Arizona, California, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Since emergency contraception became available without a prescription for certain individuals, refusals to provide non-prescription emergency contraception have also been reported.

The Solution

Access to legal contraception is a protected fundamental right in the United States and should not be impeded by one individual's personal beliefs.

The Food and Drug Administration has declared emergency contraception to be safe and effective in preventing unintended pregnancy and has approved over-the-counter access to emergency contraception for individuals aged 17 and older.

If taken soon after unprotected sex or primary contraceptive failure, emergency contraception can significantly reduce a woman's chance of unintended pregnancy.

Therefore it is vital that birth control remain accessible to the public.

What will the Access to Birth Control Act a.k.a. ABC Act do?

The Access to Birth Control Act (H.R.5309/S.3357), would amend the Public Health Service Act to require pharmacies to comply with certain rules related to contraceptives, including:

-(1) providing a customer a contraceptive without delay if it is in stock;

-(2) immediately informing a customer if the contraceptive is not in stock and either transferring the prescription to a pharmacy that has the contraceptive in stock or expediting the ordering of the contraceptive and notifying the customer when it arrives, based on customer preference, except for pharmacies that do not ordinarily stock contraceptives in the normal course of business; and

-(3) ensuring that pharmacy employees do not take certain actions relating to a request for contraception, including intimidating, threatening, or harassing customers, interfering with or obstructing the delivery of services, intentionally misrepresenting or deceiving customers about the availability of contraception or its mechanism of action, breaching or threatening to breach medical confidentiality, or refusing to return a valid, lawful prescription.

In addition the ABC Act would provide that a pharmacy is not prohibited from refusing to provide a contraceptive to a customer if:

-(1) it is unlawful to dispense the contraceptive to the customer without a valid, lawful prescription and no such prescription is presented;

-(2) the customer is unable to pay for the contraceptive; or

-(3) the employee of the pharmacy refuses to provide the contraceptive on the basis of a professional clinical judgment.

Finally, the ABC Act does not preempt state law or any professional obligation of a state board that provides greater protections for customers. It also sets forth civil penalties and establishes a private cause of action for violations of this Act.

What can you do to get the Access to Birth Control Act  passed?

Please write to and/or call your U.S. Representatives and Senators and President Obama tell them to pass Access to Birth Control Act in the 112th congress. Also ask your U.S. Representatives and Senators to co-sponsor the Access to Birth Control Act.

Also please sign the petition below.



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