Las Vegas, Nev. – Today, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) hosted a roundtable with reproductive rights advocates and health care providers to discuss the need to ensure all Nevada women can access birth control without a prescription. Senator Cortez Masto and participants talked about the barriers Nevada women still face to access and afford contraceptives, and she highlighted her legislation to require insurers to fully cover the cost of over-the-counter birth control.
To truly expand access, the first FDA approved over-the-counter birth control pill needs to be affordable. Right now, nearly 180,000 women in Nevada live in areas without access to the full range of contraceptive methods, and many Nevada women struggle to afford birth control not covered by their insurance.
“For me, contraception was about my health. Most women understand that – and that’s why we need to make sure they can access and afford birth control,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “I’ve introduced legislation to empower thousands of Nevada women to continue to make decisions about their lives – on their own terms. I’ll continue fighting to expand access to affordable birth control and to protect reproductive rights for Nevadans and women across the country.”
“As a Black and Asian American woman, I also do not have access to birth control like 180,000 other women in Nevada,” said Melia Rivers, Planned Parenthood Gen Action Leader and Chapter President of Students United for Reproductive Justice-UNLV. “The bottom line is this: we as the younger generation fear for what we cannot control at this time, and we need federal legislation like Senator Cortez Masto’s bill to protect our fundamental freedoms and expand access to reproductive health care.”
“Planned Parenthood health centers have always been a place where patients from all walks of life can speak with compassionate providers about sexual and reproductive health care that is often stigmatized in other settings, including birth control. But that care is being threatened by politicians who do not believe people should have control over their own bodies and reproductive health care. That’s why we’re so grateful to have a Senator like Catherine Cortez Masto who is introducing legislation to protect and expand access to birth control for anyone who needs it,” said Lindsey Harmon, Executive Director, Planned Parenthood Votes Nevada.
“Anti-abortion extremists’ attacks on contraception are not empty threats. These are promises to an increasingly extreme minority that will continue to reward them with power. We need to use every tool in our toolbox to address this crisis. That’s why we are so grateful to Sen. Cortez Masto for continuing to fight at the forefront of this issue. There’s no time to waste: We must act now to protect and expand access to contraception,” said Ryan Stitzlein, Vice President of Political and Government Relations at NARAL.
“Through my work, I help provide Nevada women with the birth control they need via prescription. But right now, there are areas in our state where women have to travel over 50 miles to reach a health care provider offering comprehensive contraceptive methods, which is a major obstacle for working women who can’t take time off work or without access to reliable transportation,” said Bernadette Meily, Community Health Nurse Manager, Southern Nevada Health District. “Senator Cortez Masto’s legislation would help to remove these barriers and expand access to reproductive health care.”
Senator Cortez Masto has been a fierce advocate for women’s reproductive rights. After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Senator Cortez Masto introduced the Freedom to Travel for Health Care Act to ensure legal protections for women traveling across state lines to receive reproductive care. She has urged the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to protect the data privacy of women seeking reproductive health care. She took on one of the nation’s biggest pharmaceutical wholesalers to ensure Nevadans can access the abortion pill in retail pharmacies, including Walgreens.