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California Assembly Approves Birth Control Access Bill

California health insurers would be required to provide free coverage of all FDA-approved birth control methods under a bill that passed the state Assembly on Wednesday.

Photo credit: Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

The California Assembly Chamber, Aug. 20, 2014.

Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, argued that health insurers shouldn’t be able to make some forms of birth control available at no cost — but not others.

“If I have an extra day of heartburn because my acid reflux medication does not work, I’m still gonna be okay. If my method of contraception doesn’t work, the unintended consequences of that is significantly different,” Atkins said.

But Republican Assemblywoman Marie Waldron said California taxpayers with deeply held religious beliefs shouldn’t have to pay for birth control.

“There is no exemption for non-profit religious organizations. To make matters worse, these drugs would be available to young girls without parental notification,” Waldron said.

The bill passed along party lines. It now returns to the Senate for a final vote.

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