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State Lawmakers: Prevention is the Best Medicine

June 23, 2009

Lansing, MI - Prevention first is the message today in Lansing, where members of the state House and Senate will be introducing a 15-bill package to ensure reliable sexual and reproductive health education and information, increase access to family planning services, and promote healthy pregnancies. The bills would also ensure that pharmacies fill birth-control prescriptions, guarantee that victims of sexual assault have access to emergency contraception, and requires that insurance cover birth control if other prescriptions are covered.

Representative Rebekah Warren of Ann Arbor, one of the sponsors, says the bills will help protect teens who decide against abstinence.

"Abstinence education is important, it's certainly the safest choice in terms of preventing sexually-transmitted diseases and infections and preventing pregnancies. But a lot of our teens are making the choice to be sexually active and we just want them to have all the tools to do that in a really smart way."

Warren says every dollar put into family planning in the state saves four dollars in social services costs.

"The more we can do to make sure that people are planning the right time to become parents, that they have healthy babies when they plan a pregnancy, and that they take good care of themselves and get prenatal care and advice, that really is a dollar-and-cents issue for us as a state."

The bills are supported by the Michigan National Organization for Women, Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Opponents say the bills provide more taxpayer funding for contraception and abortion.

Tony Bruscato, Public News Service - MI