Rep. Mia Love promotes legislation to make birth control available over-the-counter

Posted at 7:25 PM, Feb 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-24 22:12:06-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Rep. Mia Love, a Republican representing Utah's Fourth District, is promoting a bill she is sponsoring that would make birth control pills available over-the-counter without a prescription, which would also make them more affordable.

Research from Planned Parenthood indicates some birth control options cost women of a child-bearing age who do not have insurance up to $600 a year. One-third of female voters who want to use birth control struggle to afford it, meaning they are more likely to use it inconsistently.

Rep. Love detailed her support for the bill to Utah lawmakers Thursday while discussing access to health care.

“I am doing everything I can to free up funds from the federal side, and making sure that normal birth control that would be about $30 a month is now $3 a month," Love said in her remarks to the Utah Legislature. "The way that I'm doing that is by bypassing the fees that the pharmaceutical companies have to pay the FDA in order to get the birth control over-the-counter."

Love also noted that age restrictions are in place.

"You have to be 18 or over to be able to get it, you still have access to your doctor, you just do not have to have a prescription," she said. "It brings the cost down to a fraction of what it actually is now. It allows you to use your HSA, your FSAs, and if you're under age you have to have a parent or legal guardian get it for you.”

She said the measure is part of an overall strategy to improve health care access by reducing the cost of health care.

Planned Parent released a statement to Fox 13 News in response, portions of which are below:

"For more than 100 years, Planned Parenthood has been committed to expanding access to birth control information and services. We believe that everyone should be able to access and use the birth control method of their choice — without barriers based on cost, availability, stigma, or any other factor. Oral contraceptives are one of several birth control methods available today, and research confirms that they are one of the safest and best-studied medications on the market. Planned Parenthood supports making birth control available over the counter as one option for people looking to prevent pregnancy.

....While Planned Parenthood supports increasing access to birth control by making some methods available over-the-counter, there are many different kinds of birth control, and no one method will work for every person at every stage of their life. Additionally, not all forms of birth control can be made available over-the-counter. The most effective forms of birth control, like IUDs and implants, require insertion by a trained health care provider. We encourage each person to consult their health care provider to determine the birth control method that is best for them. It remains not only critical that the full range of birth control methods are covered by insurance so every person has access to use the method that’s best for them, but also that people are able to access a health care provider, such as Planned Parenthood, to get quality reproductive health care no matter their income."