House and Senate Democrats introduced a measure Thursday that would mandate that insurance companies provide full coverage to patients for over-the-counter birth control.
Representative Ayanna Pressley and Senator Patty Murray introduced the legislation, which would prevent women from being charged for over-the-counter birth control, in their respective chambers. Currently, Plan B is the only pill-form contraceptive available without a prescription, but lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have called for the Food and Drug Administration to approve more forms of birth control for over-the-counter purchase.
“At a time when reproductive rights are under attack, it is more critical than ever that we take bold steps to reaffirm
“I hope Republicans who have spoken about increasing access to over-the-counter birth control will support this bill and acknowledge the reality that you simply can’t have access without affordability,” Murray said.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez co-sponsored the bill and found an unlikely ally in Senator Ted Cruz, the conservative firebrand, who said he agrees birth control should be available without a prescription.
“Psst! Birth control should be over-the-counter, pass it on,” the New York Democrat wrote last week on Twitter, adding, “It should be free, too.”
“I agree,” the Texas senator responded to Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet. “Perhaps, in addition to the legislation we are already working on together to ban Members of Congress from becoming lobbyists, we can team up here as well. A simple, clean bill making birth control available over the counter. Interested?”
Republican senators Joni Ernst and Cory Gardner introduced a proposal in April designed to catalyze the regulatory process for hormonal contraceptives to be approved for over-the-counter purchase.