State takes aim at Trump action

In a direct response to Trump Administration actions, Gov. Charlie Baker Monday signed a recently passed bill mandating copay-free access to contraception for all women in the commonwealth. In a State House signing ceremony, legislators invoked the history of Massachusetts as a healthcare pioneer, and the importance of standing up for women’s reproductive freedoms. With its passage, Massachusetts becomes the first state in the country to respond to the federal regulatory change.

Rep. Dylan Fernandes, D-Falmouth, was a cosponsor of the legislation, and had been advocating for it at the State House. “A woman’s healthcare decisions are between her and her doctor; that’s it. They should never be dictated by her insurance company or the personal beliefs of her employer or anyone else.”

The law comes on the heels of the Trump administration’s decision to allow any employer to deny an employee’s access to contraceptives through workforce health insurance — a waiver that previously only applied to explicitly religious institutions. In addition to providing access to birth control without a copay, the new law goes a step farther by allowing women to obtain a 12-month supply of pills at once. Advocates have cited this as an important measure for making sure that women have steady access over time without gaps.