RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — On Wednesday, Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed a bill that will make getting birth control easier for women.
HB 2267, which was introduced by Del. Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Springfield), gives women the option to fill a doctor’s prescription for birth control pills for up to one year at a time.
Previously, health insurance policies typically allowed 90 days’ worth of prescriptions to be mailed at a time.
After the signing, Del. Filler-Corn called it a “huge moment for [Virginia] women.”
Amy Spicer knows how challenging it can be to get birth control in bulk. Last year, she went on a 12-month trip across the globe.
The most difficult part of her planning? Not packing, not raising funds, but making sure she had a year’s worth of prescriptions with her.
“It was probably the biggest struggle for me going on this trip,” she said. “I spent a lot of time talking to insurance and talking to the pharmacy going back and forth. It was a big struggle to get a year’s worth.”
Dr. Kenley Neuman of Virginia Physicians for Women says the change is a good thing.
“I definitely think it’ll be helpful to many women,” said Dr. Neuman.
Dr. Neuman says this exact thing has proven to be effective.
“There have been studies that show women who are provided a one year supply of birth control are 30 percent less likely to have an unintended pregnancy compared to those given a one to three month supply,” she said.
Dr. Neuman says it can be difficult to remember when to pick up pills, and sometimes pharmacies don’t have prescriptions ready when you arrive. Others, like Spicer, need multiple months’ worth in advance.
Though it’ll be easier to access birth control pills, Dr. Neuman says don’t be a stranger to your doctor.
“If you’re having any symptoms or problems or concerns about side effects, you need to see your doctor. If it’s a medication you’ve been on for a while, we still want to see you every year to check and make sure it’s still the right prescription for you,” she said.