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Bill Introduced Would Increase Access to Birth Control 

 

Supporters of a bill that would allow women to pick up a year’s supply of birth control gathered in Augusta Tuesday.

Opponents claim more drugs dispensed at one time promotes waste.

Convenient access to birth control: that’s the goal of a bill being proposed by a local planned parenthood group.

It would allow women to obtain a three-month supply for a first dispensing, then a one-year supply after of the same birth control.

One supporter urges the committee to look at the issue of unplanned pregnancies in a different light.

“Oftentimes, abusive partners will be really messing with women’s birth control. Perhaps trying to trick them into a pregnancy that they didn’t want or plan for,” said Regina Rooney of the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence.

One month may seem like enough time to pick up another birth control prescription, but supporters say research shows one in four women say they’ve missed a pill because they haven’t been able to pick up a pack.

“Some abusers will use deceptive tactics to force a woman to get pregnant against her will: poking holes in condoms, hiding pills or keeping her from medical appointments,” said Rooney.

Opponents claim more drugs dispensed at one time promotes waste.

“…resulting from potential discontinuation of treatment, loss of medication and members terminating their policy,” said an opponent of the bill, Katherine Pelletreau of the Maine Association of Health Plans.

But it’s a different story for domestic violence victims.

“It strikes me that we heard very persuasive testimony today from a domestic violence advocate and the concerns she spoke of are real. Mail-order prescriptions are absolutely not an option for a woman who is in fear that her spouse might take her contraception or throw it away or prevent her from getting it. In fact it could be the worst possible option,” said Rep. Heather Sanborn (D-Portland).

“It’s really up to a provider an a woman to determine which is in her best interest and some of them require taking a pill every day but there are other types available that require less consistency,” said Pelletreau.

Supporters say the bill would decrease unplanned pregnancies, also lowering the amount of money being spent on social welfare – a function Maine spends billions on each year, according to the US Census Bureau.