BOSTON (WWLP)-A new Massachusetts law guarantees access to free contraception, including birth control, for Massachusetts women. Governor Charlie Baker (R-Massachusetts) signed the contraceptive ACCESS bill into law Monday that protects contraceptive coverage with no cost-sharing for Massachusetts women, regardless of possible changes to health care policies on the federal level.
“This is exactly the sort of opportunity where Massachusetts has a chance to send a message to other parts of the country about how we think and how we feel about this issue,” Baker said.
Contraceptive access is currently granted under the Affordable Care Act. But both Massachusetts lawmakers and reproductive health advocates are concerned over birth control coverage rollbacks from the Trump Administration.
“I think since it’s not being protected at the federal level, we feel it’s our responsibility and our duty to protect women and to protect families,” State Senator Harriette Chandler (D-Worcester) told 22News.
Massachusetts women can obtain a prescription through their health care provider.
Dr. Jennifer Childs-Roshak, President of Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, told 22News preventing unplanned pregnancies is not the only use for birth control.
“Birth control pills are also used for medical management of some really significant medical issues. For example, people who are under treatment for other illnesses like cancer, young teenagers who have bad, disfiguring acne,” Childs-Roshak said. “There are lots of examples, endometriosis.”
The bill faced push back from some religious organizations. The legislation does include a measure that allows churches and church-controlled organizations to exempt themselves from the mandate.
Under the law, women can get up to a 12 month supply of birth control for free, after successfully completing a three month trial supply.