Governor Gavin Newsom called on US Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to take additional steps to ensure that all forms of contraception are accessible and affordable.
“Accessibility and affordability are critical when it comes to reproductive health care,” said Governor Newsom. “As some parts of the country look to roll back those rights, we stand with the Biden-Harris administration to protect women and ensure their freedom.”
Why it matters: An over-the-counter daily birth control pill could revolutionize access to contraception in the United States—if it’s affordable. These governors have joined forces with the Biden Administration to support affordability by promoting measures to require most health plans to cover drug costs.
Governor Newsom, joined by other executive committee governors of the Reproductive Freedom Alliance—Illinois Governor JB Pritzker, Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, and North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper—along with Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro—issued a letter to state their support of the federal government expanding access to contraception nationwide.
HOW WE GET HERE: Earlier this year, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first over-the-counter (OTC) daily birth control pill, a development that could change access to contraception in the United States. The pill is expected to be available to people across the country in the coming months.
ABOUT THE LETTER: The governors are urging the federal government to clarify that non-prescription contraceptives are covered without cost-sharing under private health insurance plans under the regulations of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medicare, and Medicaid.
“As governors, we see firsthand the need for affordable and accessible reproductive health coverage in our communities. In forming the Reproductive Freedom Alliance, we pledge to protect and improve access to reproductive health care in the face of an unprecedented attack on the right to primary health care. We urge your departments to immediately disseminate the new guidelines on the coverage of (over-the-counter) contraceptives and join us in expanding access to reproductive healthcare for the most vulnerable population in our country.
A full copy of the letter can be found here.
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Earlier this year, Governor Newsom launched the Reproductive Freedom Alliance, a nonpartisan coalition of 22 governors working to protect and expand reproductive freedom in states across the country.
Learn more about California’s leadership as well as the rights and resources available to people accessing abortion care, regardless of the state they live in, at Abortion.CA.gov.