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Reproductive Issues Before Virginia General Assembly

Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn is sponsoring legislation to permit full-year prescriptions for birth control pills. (The Office of Del. Filler-Corn)
Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn is sponsoring legislation to permit full-year prescriptions for birth control pills. (The Office of Del. Filler-Corn)
February 13, 2017

RICHMOND, Va. – As the General Assembly enters its final stretch, two bills dealing with reproductive issues still have a chance of passing.

One would end state funding for Planned Parenthood. It resembles similar anti-abortion legislation in Congress and other state capitols.

Margie Del Castillo, associate director of community mobilization for the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, says her organization expects that bill to make it to Gov. Terry McAuliffe's desk.

But she says it is likely to die there, since McAuliffe made a point of vetoing a bill that would have done the same thing last year.

"The governor hasn't publicly stated that this year yet, but he did make a very public statement last year,” she points out. “Because we do unfortunately expect that bill to make its way through the Senate on a party-line vote most likely."

Supporters argue that even if no public money going to Planned Parenthood is used to pay for abortions, the government should not be funding the organization. A separate bill deals with prescriptions for birth control pills.

Del Castillo says the second bill mandates that health plans cover full-year prescriptions for oral birth control when a patient and her doctor agree that a prescription like that is appropriate. She says the problem with current prescriptions for a few months is that women will often forget or stop taking the pills for a time.

"Oftentimes with a 1 to 3 months supply, women are not able to keep up consistent coverage,” she explains. “You need to be able to take it every single day without a gap. Research has shown that 12-month supply of pills leads to being able to be consistent on them."

The Senate Commerce and Labor Committee is scheduled to consider the contraceptive legislation on Monday.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - VA