Reader's View: Improve health with more birth control
The Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act has been introduced at the Minnesota Legislature. The act would require insurance companies to cover birth-control prescriptions for up to 12 months at one time and would eliminate cost-sharing for patients with no deductibles, coinsurance, or copayment for consultation related to the use of all FDA-approved contraceptive drugs, devices and supplies.
Student Advocates for Choice at the University of Minnesota Duluth would like to voice our strong support for this act, as we feel it benefits all people in Minnesota who use birth control.
According to a study conducted by researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and published by the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, providing free birth control leads to fewer unintended pregnancies. In its study, there were 4.4 to 7.5 abortions per 1,000 women, which is much fewer than the national rate of 19.6 abortions per 1,000 women.
According to the same study, almost half of the more than 6 million pregnancies that occur each year are unintended, and about 43 percent of them end in abortion. About half of unplanned pregnancies occur in women who are using no contraception.
Providing access to 12 months of birth control at a time and protecting prescriptions in Minnesota's health care market benefits everyone in Minnesota because it prevents unintended pregnancies and reduces the need for abortions. It provides reproductive autonomy to those who are poor, move often, live far from their health care providers or have unstable health insurance.
Similar laws have been passed in California, Vermont, Illinois, New York, Oregon, Nevada, Maryland, and Maine. It's time for Minnesota to catch up and provide its citizens with the health care they need.
The writer is president of Student Advocates for Choice at UMD and is a campus representative to NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota.