Bills, Bills, Bills: HB 2651
By Perdita Henry and Leah Joiner
The 87th Texas Legislature is off to an interesting start, but TWHC is monitoring a flurry of bills that stand to make the women’s health programs better. We’ve talked about all of them here, but over the next few weeks, we are going to zoom in on some of them and share exactly what they are positioned to do, talking points you can use, and how you can contact the house and senate representatives assigned to the committees poised to decide if the bill moves forward.
This week's featured bill
HB 2651 will allow women to receive 12-months of their birth control prescription at one time. Currently, most health plans only allow women to obtain one or three months of birth control at a time, meaning they must refill the prescription incrementally over the year.
Twelve-month prescription access improves continuity of care and prescription adherence. Women who can access a full year prescription are 30 percent less likely to experience an unplanned pregnancy.
In Texas, nearly half of all pregnancies are unplanned. Increasing women’s ability to plan and space their pregnancies leads to an array of benefits, including improved infant and maternal health, better educational and economic opportunities for families, lower abortion rates, and cost savings for the state.
Planned pregnancies are incredibly important to the health of mothers and babies. Women who plan their pregnancies are more likely to receive early prenatal care, experience healthier pregnancies, and reduce their risk of having babies born too early or too small. 
Based on analysis by the Legislative Budget Board, this provision would have no significant fiscal implication, and according to the Health Human Services Commission (HHSC), any cost to Medicaid would be offset by savings related to averted births.
Assignment: House Insurance Committee
This bill has been referred to the House Insurance Committee, and is scheduled for a hearing on Tuesday, April 20. You can encourage members of the House Insurance Committee to pass HB 2651 out of committee, and advocate for the bill with your House Representative. Find your Representative with this search tool.
You can advocate for HB 2651 by using our talking points to encourage members of the Committee to support this bill and pass it out of committee. The points we’ve crafted can help you draft emails to members or to advocate for HB 2651 in meetings with Representatives and their staff.
(Learn more about the process bills have to go through to become law here.)
Insurance Committee Members:
Currently, many health plans restrict prescription contraception supply to one or three months.
Allowing clients to receive up to a twelve-month supply of prescription contraception at one time is an important step toward strengthening continuity of care.
Nearly half of all pregnancies in Texas are unplanned.
Reducing unintended pregnancy is key to reducing poor birth outcomes and the costs associated with them. Contraceptive continuation promotes healthy, planned pregnancies.
Women who receive a one-year supply of contraceptives are 30 percent less likely to have an unintended pregnancy compared to women receiving a one- to three-month supply.
A one-year supply of contraception has also been shown to reduce the likelihood of abortion by 46 percent.
Planning a meeting with legislators? TWHC is happy to talk strategy ahead of your meeting. Contact us at info@TexasWHC.org and we will help you ensure you hit all the right points in your meeting.
Download a one-pager of the bill graphic and the information in this blog to keep in your preparation for your meeting with legislators.
 Foster DG, Hulett D, Bradsberry M, Darney P, Policar M. Number of oral contraceptive pill packages dispensed and subsequent unintended pregnancies. Obstet Gynecol. 2011 Mar;117(3):566-572. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e3182056309. PMID: 21343759.
 Kost K, Maddow-Zimet I & Kochhar S. Pregnancy Desires and Pregnancies at the State Level: Estimates for 2014. New York: Guttmacher Institute, 2018. https://www.guttmacher.org/report/pregnancy-desires-andpregnancies-state-level-estimates-2014.  Ibid.  Kaye, K, Gootman, J.A., Ng, A. S., & Finley, C. The Benefits of Birth Control in America: Getting the Facts Straight. Washington, DC: The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. 2014. https://powertodecide.org/sites/default/files/resources/primary-download/benefits-of-birth-control-in-america.pdf.