Executive order from Gov. Katie Hobbs expands contraceptive access in Arizona

May 20, 2024, 2:05 PM | Updated: 2:06 pm

Executive order from Gov. Katie Hobbs expands reproductive rights...

Hobbs announced the executive order on May 20, 2024. (File photos: Gov. Katie Hobbs, left, Justin Sullivan/Getty Images, right)

(File photos: Gov. Katie Hobbs, left, Justin Sullivan/Getty Images, right)

PHOENIX — Gov. Katie Hobbs issued an executive order to expand Arizona women’s reproductive rights, according to a Monday announcement.

The order demands the Arizona Department of Administration to designate a drug called Opill — as well as future FDA-approved over-the-counter birth control pills — as an essential health benefit.

This designation would benefit government employees and retirees who are part of a self-funded health care plan administered by the ADA. Marking these pills as essential for health means state plan participants are entitled to them at no cost.

Executive Order 2024-03 comes in the wake of the Arizona Supreme Court’s ruling to reinstate an 1864 abortion ban in April. However, Hobbs signed a bill to repeal the near-total abortion ban in early May.

Despite the progress, the Arizona Legislature has repeatedly failed to consider and pass measures that would protect residents’ contraceptive rights, according to a Monday press release.

“Access to contraception is a right,” Hobbs said in the press release. “While members of our legislature tell Arizona women to put aspirin between their knees instead of taking action to pass the Arizona Right to Contraception Act, I will continue to do everything in my power to protect our reproductive freedom and ensure every Arizonan can access contraception.”

The executive order does more than make over-the-counter birth control options freely available to state employees, however. It also requires the ADA to:

  • Notify state employees who are or can be enrolled in the state plan.
  • Provide a report to Hobbs’ office on the benefits of expanding contraceptive access in its health care plan for state employees.
  • Educate pharmacists about contraceptive options available to state plan participants.

It’s not the only department responsible for reporting to her office under this new order. The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System must consider ways to expand contraceptive access to its members. Plus, it has to report on the costs and feasibility of those options by June 30.

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Executive order from Gov. Katie Hobbs expands contraceptive access in Arizona