Republican Congresswoman Barbara Comstock has thrown her weight behind a bill that would allow women to buy birth control pills over the counter, without the need for prescriptions.

The Allowing Greater Access to Safe and Effective Contraception Act was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Cory Gardner

(R-Colo.).

In the House, Comstock and Congresswomen Mia Love (R-Utah) introduced the companion legislation.

The act offers incentives to manufacturers of routine use contraceptives. The FDA filing fee for applying to switch contraceptives from prescription to over-the-counter would be waivered, and priority review would also be given to those switch applications.

The legislation would repeal the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) restriction on the use of health, medical, and flexible savings accounts to purchase over-the-counter drugs without a prescription. In addition, it would also repeal the ACA's annual limits on flexible spending accounts (FSA) contributions.

Calling the act "straightforward," Ernst said, "Women wear many hats in their increasingly busy, daily lives; they should have the ability to access routine use contraception directly from their local pharmacy."

Comstock said she believes the act will give women greater access and ability to save for their health care needs.

She called the legislation "a common sense solution."

"Allowing over-the-counter sales of oral contraceptives would enhance women's access, put decisions in their hands, modernize the health care system and lower birth control costs," Comstock said.

-Chantalle Edmunds

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