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Women like me need the Reproductive Health Act

By Michelle Daugherty, Reproductive Freedom FellowRHAforFB

It’s 8:00 pm on a Sunday evening, do you know where your next pack of pills are coming from? As someone who has faced this dilemma, just like many women across the country, I know the panicked feeling of not knowing if I could get my next pack of pills in time before I missed a dose.

I have always worked for small businesses, and more often than not, the businesses didn’t offer insurance coverage. If they did, they would change insurance companies every year, forcing me to find a new doctor. A new doctor meant a long wait to get an appointment which also meant a long wait to get my prescription refilled. On top of that, the pharmacy would only dispense 3 months of pills at a time. This increased the possibility of missing a dose if I didn’t remember to fill it in time.

This dance of uncertainty for 13 years was exhausting! During one of the periods when I was uninsured, I went to Planned Parenthood for my annual exam, and discovered I could get an IUD fully covered through their program for low income women. Not having to stress about my birth control coverage for 5 years was liberating.

While I am pleased with my decision, and even more pleased now that I always have insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act, women’s contraceptive choices are still being attacked. I was lucky to live in an urban area where I didn’t have to go far to find a pharmacy or access a local Planned Parenthood, but what if I had lived in a rural area and had to travel a long distance? What if I had wanted an IUD and my employer wouldn’t cover it?

As a woman, I know few health decisions impact women’s daily lives more than choices about birth control, and having equal and free access to ALL our options is essential. The Reproductive Health Act, currently making it’s way through the Washington State Legislature, makes this goal more attainable by taking some common sense steps to improve contraceptive access and reduce barriers to that access. With this piece of legislation, all forms of contraception would be covered and all insurance companies would be required to cover 12 months of contraception, reducing the anxiety of missing a dose. All women deserve the right to make the decisions that are right for their bodies, without having to worry about insurance barriers or their employer’s restrictions.

Read more about the Reproductive Health Act here.

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