WXXI AM News

Objections over morning after pill hold up support for legislation to protect contraceptive coverage

Jun 5, 2017

Credit freeimages.com/Aleksandra P.

Leaders of the Rochester chapter of Now, the National Organization for Women, are calling on State Senator Rich Funke to support the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act.

The legislation, which has already passed in the Assembly, would require insurers to cover the costs of contraceptive drugs, devices, and services in the event that the federal Affordable Care Act is repealed.

Kelly LeBlanc, vice president of the local NOW chapter, says the cost of contraceptives are not insignificant.

"It's a hardship on women. The average woman spends about three decades of her life trying to avoid unintended pregnancy and having the cost of birth control covered in women's health care is essential."

LeBlanc said she and another NOW leader met with Senator Funke's staff and they were told that the Fairport Republican objects to the contraception coverage act because it would include coverage for the morning after pill, which is at odds with Funke's religious beliefs.

But LeBlanc believes this is based on a misunderstanding on the part of the Senator.

"We need him to understand that the morning after pill does not work if someone is already pregnant. It is simply a contraception that tries to prevent unintended pregnancy from happening."

A spokesman for Funke said the Senator is open to supporting nearly all of the CCCA, with the exception of mandated coverage for the already widely-available “Plan B” (morning after) pill.

The spokesman said in a written statement "some extreme partisan activists refuse to compromise and their obstructionism is threatening access to contraception for millions of New York women.”

The measure has passed in the State Assembly, but has not made it out of a Senate committee for a vote by the full Senate. 

On Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced new regulations requiring all private insurance companies doing business on the state's insurance marketplace to continue providing coverage of contraceptives without co-pays, co-insurance or deductibles regardless of the future of the Affordable Care Act.

Cuomo also ordered mandates that would keep insurers from discriminating against New Yorkers with pre-existing conditions or based on age or gender.