The past few post-election months have been difficult. As an organizer and advocate for reproductive rights, I have felt that the bad has often outweighed the good. I’ve found it hard to celebrate the incredible outpouring of support for Planned Parenthood and influx of new volunteers while the new administration devotes itself to ripping rights away from its citizens and implementing unconscionable immigration policies driven by hate and fear.
The first week of January brought the first concrete threat to our organization. House Republicans vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act and defund Planned Parenthood. This was our new reality. My heart sank and I got angry. Standing in the security line at LAX, about to visit my office in Sacramento, my mind raced thinking of what actions I could take immediately. I realized that I could make sure that my own family planning needs were met. Thanks to SB 999, a bill we helped pass last year, I could now receive twelve months of birth control pills at one time, securing my birth control method for the next year so that I had one less thing to worry about.
I emailed my doctor and asked for my next refill to be a year’s supply. Then I waited. I was nervous, anxious that for some reason it wouldn’t work. She emailed me back saying she wasn’t sure, but she would try. I assured her that SB 999 had passed and as long as she wrote the prescription I would be able to receive twelve months of pills at a time with no copay. I was still nervous. A few weeks later I filled the prescription and waited. Yesterday the packaged arrived at my house and out poured all twelve packs!
Thank you SB999 (and my badass feminist doctor)!!
As I stared at the most birth control packs I had ever seen at one time, I thought about how fortunate I was to receive this kind of care. This is what reproductive health care looks like in California (if you have health insurance and access to a doctor.) This is what reproductive health care should look like everywhere. Getting a year’s supply of birth control with no copay felt fantastic, but this type of access should not be limited based on where we live. SB 999 will help so many of the patients Planned Parenthood health centers serve, along with others around California, and this success should encourage us to keep fighting until everyone, everywhere has access to the birth control method of their choice!