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Bill to increase access to contraceptives moves to Senate

The bill would allow someone to extend their contraceptive prescription from three months to six months, allotting more time between picking up prescriptions.
Credit: Brian Myrick
Sen. Melissa Wintrow speaks during a committee meeting at the Idaho State Capitol, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021.

BOISE, Idaho — This article originally appeared in the Idaho Press.

Individuals could have increased access to contraceptives through a bill introduced in a Senate committee on Thursday.

Sen. Melissa Wintrow, D-Boise, introduced SB 1260 after nearly four failed attempts.

The bill would allow someone to extend their contraceptive prescription from three months to six months, allotting a longer time period between picking up prescriptions.

Wintrow introduced the bill again after standing in line at a pharmacy to pick up her prescription, where she said she could not receive it that day due to a supply and labor shortage.

“It dawned on me, holy smokes, this is the workforce shortage in the pandemic. The pharmacy was saying they are filling thousands of scripts a day, and they couldn’t get to mine when I called it in four or five days prior,” she said.

Wintrow said this piece of legislation would help people plan their families and increase contraceptive access, especially in the midst of a pandemic.

“If women are taking prescription contraceptives to avoid pregnancy, that means they’re they’re trying to plan when and if they want to be pregnant, and that truly is the linchpin for economic freedom – to make sure that you can take personal responsibility for your life and financially be able to care for a child,” Wintrow said.

The bill has gone through several iterations to pass. Wintrow said she has worked with pro-life groups and insurance companies to make sure the bill has full coverage addressing all the concerns legislators had voiced previously.

The insurance companies are neutral, she said, and the bill excludes emergency contraception.

SB 1260 cleared the Senate Health and Welfare committee with a unanimous do-pass recommendation, sending it to the Senate. To become law, it still would need to pass there, clear a House committee, pass the full House and receive the governor’s signature.

“It just goes to show you it takes a while to get it right,” Wintrow said. “Fingers crossed.”

This article originally appeared in the Idaho Press, read more on IdahoPress.com.

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