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Kitty Lindsay
April 15, 2017 1:26 pm

Republicans in Congress may be threatening women’s access to affordable reproductive healthcare — but Nevada is having none of it. State legislators recently introduced a bill that would guarantee birth control access to Nevada’s women without a co-pay, much like the Affordable Care Act provision that’s under siege by the Trump administration.

Nevada is the latest member of the cool kids’ club of states — including California, Maryland, Vermont, and Illinois — to move to ensure women’s continued access to reproductive healthcare, specifically birth control, crafting legislation to guarantee access to contraception free of co-pays.

In addition, Nevada Senate Bill 233 and Assembly Bill 249, introduced to Nevada’s state legislature in March, allow pharmacists to dispense 12-month supplies of birth control (even if the doctor’s note allows for less) — a boon to women in rural areas who must trek long distances to get to the doctor’s office — and strips businesses of any religious exemptions that would block their employees’ access to contraception coverage.

Though Nevada’s bills remain in committee, they are already gaining support from healthcare providers in the state. This week, Reno-based OB-GYN Toby Freschotlz penned an impassioned op-ed in the Reno Gazette-Journal voicing her support of AB 249 and advocating on behalf of the women she sees everyday at the hospital where she works.

Frescholtz underscored the importance of AB 249’s prescribed birth control allowance, too, citing her “rural patients” in particular as those uniquely impacted. “Getting in the car and driving to a local pharmacy is a luxury many of us take for granted, but for some patients, transportation alone can be a barrier — and the ‘local’ pharmacy can sometimes be hours away,” wrote Frescholtz.

No doubt, if passed, AB 249 and similar measures like those proposed in New York, Minnesota, Colorado, and Massachusetts, will not only benefit individual women, but entire families and communities, even saving taxpayers upwards of $3,000 a day in emergency and pre-term birth expenses.

“I have witnessed how accessible contraception can make the difference between a young woman finishing her studies and getting a good paying job, or falling into a never-ending cycle of poverty,” wrote Frescholtz. “The costs of unplanned pregnancies are not just limited to the families who experience them, but are shared by our community as a whole.”

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