Testimony in Favor of HB 613 to Permit Licensed Pharmacists to Prescribe and Dispense Contraceptives
Friday Feb 24th, 2017
Following is testimony given by Rebecca Dineen, Deputy Commissioner of Maternal and Child Health. The statement was presented to the Health and Government Operations Committee on behalf of Dr. Wen on February 10, 2017.
Thank you Chairwoman Pendergrass and members of the Health and Government Operations Committee calling this hearing and inviting the Baltimore City Health Department to comment on this bill today.
I am testifying on behalf of Dr. Leana Wen, Baltimore City Health Commissioner, in support of House Bill 613. By expanding access to contraceptive medications and devices, House Bill 613 will decrease the number of unintended pregnancies and improve pregnancy outcomes.
In 2016, there were 669 teen births in Baltimore City, the most among all Maryland jurisdictions. Baltimore City has the highest percentage of low birth weights at 12.3 percent and is tied for first in its share of very low birth weights at 2.6 percent.
According to a nationally representative survey of adult women published in 2016 in the Journal of Women’s Health, between a quarter and a third of women reported issues obtaining a prescription or refills for oral contraception. Women in the study cited challenges such as visiting clinics, clinicians requiring a clinic visit, and not having a regular doctor or clinic as obstacles to obtaining contraceptives. These difficulties would be mitigated by House Bill 613.
This bill will help address the long-term physical, psychological, social, and economic consequences of unintended pregnancies by expanding access to vital, FDA-approved contraceptive medications and devices.
As a result, the Baltimore City Health Department respectfully requests a favorable report on House Bill 613.