Democrats' plan to protect the cost of birth control for women in MN

Women could have to pay out-of-pocket for birth control if the Affordable Care Act is repealed by U.S. lawmakers.

Minnesota is the latest state to consider bills that would guarantee contraceptives remain affordable for women, even if the Affordable Care Act is repealed.

The Minnesotans for Trust, Respect, Access coalition announced a campaign to expand access to reproductive health care in Minnesota. It includes two bills, written by Democratic state lawmakers, aimed at making birth control accessible, and making sure people are well informed about their health.

Here's a look at what was introduced Monday:

Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act

The Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act would make sure women have access to "affordable and consistent" birth control, which has been shown as the best way to prevent unintended pregnancy and, in turn, lower abortion rates across the country.

The bill would guarantee coverage for all FDA-approved contraceptives (the pill, IUD devices, etc.). It would also require insurance companies to cover birth control prescriptions for up to 12 months at a time, a fact sheet says.

The act "will remove barriers for women accessing contraception, while improving birth outcomes and reducing costs for both the state of Minnesota and private insurers," Rep. Erin Murphy, a Democrat who co-authored the bill, said Monday. She noted they're concerned about moves on the federal level to repeal the Affordable Care Act, so "we need to take action in Minnesota."

The Affordable Care Act made contraceptives more affordable for women. But if the act is repealed, it could mean women would have to pay out-of-pocket for birth control, making it unaffordable for some.

The Protect Physicians’ Integrity Act

The Protect Physicians’ Integrity Act is meant to remove politicians from the doctor's office, and ensure Minnesotans are getting information "based on science, without bias or political interference," Rep. Laurie Halverson, who co-authored the bill, said in a statement.

The bill would repeal the Women's Right to Know Act, which was enacted in the 2003 legislative session. The act requires that a doctor give a woman certain information at least 24 hours before an abortion. It also requires that the number of women who given this information be reported to the Minnesota Department of Health.

Sen. Matt Klein, who is a doctor and co-author of the bill, says "politicians in Minnesota have mandated that women should receive politically motivated and medically inaccurate information," but argued this bill would stop that.

Some context

Members of the Minnesotans for Trust, Respect, Access coalition include NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota, Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota Action Fund, Pro-Choice Resources and Gender Justice.

For a bill to become a law, identical versions have to be passed by both the state House and Senate – both of which are controlled by Republicans right now. It's unclear if GOP lawmakers would be on board with the coalition's proposals right now, though one member of the coalition noted elements could get bipartisan support.

If they get passed by the House and Senate, the governor would then have to sign it as well.

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