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Grassley, Ernst Seek to Increase Access to Over-the-Counter Birth Control

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) joined Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) as well as Reps. Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa) and Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa) to introduce the Allowing Greater Access to Safe and Effective Contraception Act. This bill seeks to expand health care choices for women by increasing access to contraceptives over-the-counter (OTC) and without a prescription.

“We need to ensure all women, including in rural areas, can easily access safe, effective and affordable contraception. I appreciate Senator Ernst and Congresswomen Hinson and Miller-Meeks for leading on this important issue,” Grassley said.

“Supporting manufacturers in their efforts to allow women to purchase birth control over-the-counter and without the requirement of a prescription is an important and commonsense step in expanding health care choices and removing unnecessary hurdles, especially for those in rural areas who may need to travel long distances in some cases just to see their doctor,” Ernst said. “Thanks to each of my colleagues in the House and Senate for their support on this measure.”

“As a physician and former Iowa Director of Public Health, I recognize the need for increased access to contraceptives and am a strong supporter for increasing women’s access to contraception. As an Iowa State Senator, I was proud to introduce a bill to allow women over the age of 18 to access over-the-counter contraceptives in the state of Iowa. I would like to commend Senator Ernst on championing this legislation in the U.S. Senate and I am proud to work with my Iowa colleagues in the House in introducing the Allowing Greater Access to Safe and Effective Contraception Act,” Miller-Meeks said.

“Allowing adult women to access over-the-counter birth control at their local pharmacy is commonsense policy. This is particularly important in rural Iowa, where women often have to drive long distances to get to their doctor’s office. I am grateful for Senator Joni Ernst’s leadership on this important issue in the Senate and look forward to working with her to ensure adult women can conveniently access FDA-approved birth control,” Hinson said.

The Allowing Greater Access to Safe and Effective Contraception Act works to make routine-use contraceptives available OTC to patients without a prescription. The bill grants priority review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to any supplemental application made by a drug manufacturer to move its routine-use contraceptive product from prescription to OTC for individuals over the age of 18. A priority review designation means the FDA’s goal is to take action on an application within six months. It also waives any FDA fees that would be associated with such an application.


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