JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Women in Missouri could soon have greater access to birth control after Rep. Sheila Solon’s HB 1679 passed the House with bipartisan support Tuesday. The bill allows women to receive birth control prescriptions from their pharmacist while only visiting their doctor once every five years.
Solon, R-Blue Springs, pushed the bill as a pro-life effort that could save the state millions of dollars by preventing unwanted pregnancies.
“This bill could reduce unplanned pregnancies in the state of Missouri by an estimated 25-30 percent by providing women greater access to oral contraceptives by allowing them to be prescribed by pharmacists. This is a pro-life, pro-woman bill,” Solon said.
Several members who opposed the bill said that there were health concerns, including blood clots, with letting women get the prescription without seeing a doctor. But Solon said that pharmacists would receive the proper training, in addition to their already vigorous education, to safely prescribe the pill. She also pointed out that most medicine carries side effects.
Solon said one problem with the birth control system as it currently stands is the limited access women have to the prescription. They can only obtain their prescription with refills for 30-90 days. Solon said that can make it difficult for women to keep up because they have to take off school or work to get their prescription.
“These difficulties cause gaps of time where women go without birth control,” she said. “According to the US department of Health and Human Services, in 2011 more than 13 percent of women delayed getting birth control care because of these logistical factors.”
By limiting unplanned pregnancies, Solon also said her bill was a pro-life bill that would save the state money.
“If unplanned pregnancies could be reduced even by just 10 to 20 percent, the cost savings to the taxpayers will be 47 to 95 million dollars a year,” she said.
These savings would come from the social services currently provided by the state that might not be needed. Solon cited numbers showing that 33,451 babies were born on Medicaid in 2015 with a total cost for deliveries of $169 million and for the first year of life for infants on Medicaid was $305 million.