Lawmakers await Gov. Baker’s signature on birth control coverage bill

Bill grants women 12 month supply of birth control

(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

BOSTON (WWLP)—Massachusetts lawmakers are awaiting the Governor Charlie Baker’s signature on a bill that would protect free contraceptive coverage, birth control, for Massachusetts women.

Women are currently granted birth control coverage with no cost-sharing under the Affordable Care Act, the federal health care reform law enacted by the Obama administration. But some Massachusetts lawmakers are concerned over birth control coverage rollbacks from the Trump administration.

Last month, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that allows employers to deny birth control coverage because of religious or moral reasons.

“Massachusetts is taking a very firm stand. We will protect reproductive rights access. We will protect access to contraception in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” State Senator Eric Lesser (D-Longmeadow) said.

The Senate passed the bill Tuesday that women can get up to a 12 month supply of birth control for free, after successfully completing a three month trial supply.

The House passed the bill last week with 138 yes and 16 no votes, including western Massachusetts representatives Todd Smola (R-Warren) and Nicholas Boldyga (R-Southwick).

“I think it’s an issue that weighs on the minds of legislators in terms of what they feel is appropriate for coverage on the state level,” Smola said.

Churches and church-controlled organizations could exempt themselves from the mandate under the bill. But some religious groups oppose the legislation on ground they don’t think birth control should be subsidized.

Governor Baker has 10 days to sign the bill.