Birth Control

California Wants To Make Vasectomies Free

Currently, federal and state law requires most health insurers to provide birth control to people with uteruses. This could be a game-changer.

Doctor discussing with man over digital tablet. California just introduced new legislation that aims...
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California lawmakers are considering a bill that would require health insurance providers to cover vasectomies, in addition to other forms of non-prescription birth control like condoms and contraceptive sponges. The Contraceptive Equity Act of 2022 would also prohibit commercial insurance plans regulated by the state from charging clients out-of-pocket costs like copays or deductibles.

The bill is a game-changer for expanding what many typically think of when it comes to birth control in legislation. Often, legislation in regards to pregnancy are written for people with uteruses. Forms of contraception like birth control, IUDs, and vaginal rings are included in legislation designed to enable reproductive justice. But, if equity is the ultimate goal, legislators need to start including contraception options for people with testicles like this bill.

“It’s pretty groundbreaking in that way — it’s a whole new framework to think about contraception as something that is relevant for people of all genders,” Liz McCaman Taylor, a senior attorney with the National Health Law Program, an advocacy group that works for the health rights of low-income people, told Los Angeles Times.

If passed, the new bill would take effect for any health insurance policy issued, amended, renewed, or delivered on or after January 1, 2024.

The U.S. House of Representatives also passed a similar bill at the end of July called the Right to Contraception Act, aka H.R. 8373. Introduced by North Carolina Congresswoman Kathy Manning, the bill:

  • Establishes a statutory right for individuals to obtain contraceptives and a corresponding right for health care providers to provide contraceptives and information related to contraception;
  • Protects against any state laws that attempt to restrict access to contraceptives;
  • Allows the Department of Justice, as well as providers and individuals harmed by restrictions on contraception access to bring a civil action against any state or government official violating their rights to contraception; and
  • Protects a range of contraceptive methods, devices, and medications used to prevent pregnancy, including but not limited to oral contraceptives, emergency contraceptives, and intrauterine devices.

The federal bill is endorsed by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Center for American Progress, Center for Reproductive Rights, and the National Organization for Women, to name a few.

A vasectomy is a form of birth control that cuts the supply of sperm off from semen. According to the Mayo Clinic, this is done by cutting and sealing the tubes that carry sperm in an outpatient procedure. While a vasectomy is technically reversible, factors like age, time since the vasectomy, and any fertility issues previously experienced could determine whether or not a vasectomy reversal is successful.

Many people know that they do not want to have kids, and living a child-free life is absolutely fine. Making vasectomies available for free to those who are confident that they do not want to be a parent is one of many steps we need to take to ensure reproductive justice for everyone.