Senate Votes to Ensure Access to Contraception

On November 14, the Massachusetts Senate voted 27-10 to enact H.4009, An Act advancing contraceptive coverage and economic security in our state, better known as the ACCESS Bill. The bill had been restructured in October with a compromise between legislators, the Coalition for Choice, and a group of Massachusetts insurance carriers – who now vocally support the legislation. The same bill was passed in the House and Governor Baker signed the bill into law on November 20.

Filed in early January, the ACCESS Bill was viewed as a safeguard and a worst-case-scenario bill to shield women in Massachusetts from regressive healthcare-policy rollbacks at the Federal level. 

A sense of urgency to pass the ACCESS Bill was renewed with Congress’ summertime attempts to repeal the ACA, and was even further stirred by the Trump Administration’s contraceptive-coverage rollback in early October. An emergency preamble means that this bill will take effect immediately.

The benefits of contraceptive care are immense and well documented.

As cited in the legislation’s review by the Mass. Center for Health Information Analysis, benefits of contraception include: “improved women’s health and well-being, reduced maternal mortality, health benefits for mother and child associated with spacing pregnancy, female workforce engagement, and economic self-sufficiency.” The review estimated meager premium hikes of $0.07 to $0.20 over five years, costs that would be mitigated by savings derived from preventing unintended pregnancies.

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