Massachusetts law about contraception

A compilation of laws, regulations, cases, and web sources on birth control law by the Trial Court Law Libraries.

Table of Contents

Massachusetts laws

MGL c.12 § 11I 1/2 Right to access reproductive and gender-affirming health care services; protections against litigation

MGL c.32A, § 28 Insurance coverage for contraception for active or retired state employees

MGL c.94C, § 19A Emergency contraception

MGL c.111, § 70E Mass. patient bill of rights includes the right of victims of sexual assault to be promptly offered emergency contraception.

MGL c.118E, § 10K Insurance coverage for contraception under Medicaid

MGL c.175, § 47W Insurance coverage for contraception under individual or group insurance

MGL c.176A, § 8W Non-profit hospitals coverage for contraception

MGL c.176B, § 4W Medical service corporations coverage for contraception

MGL c.176G, § 4O HMO coverage for contraception

MGL c.272, § 21A Furnishing drugs, articles or information for prevention of pregnancy or conception

MGL c.272, § 21B Private hospitals not required to provide contraception

St. 2017, c.120 Massachusetts Access law. An act relative to advancing contraceptive coverage and economic security in our state

Massachusetts regulations

105 CMR 130.1041 - 130.1043 "Emergency contraception" shall mean any drug that is approved by the Federal Food and Drug Administration and that is used as a contraceptive method after sexual intercourse.

110 CMR 11.05 Family planning services. Any child in DSS custody may obtain family planning services, including contraception, without the consent of the Department. See 110 C.M.R. § 11.05(3). The DSS social worker is required to provide information to the child about these services if the child asks. See 110 C.M.R. § 11.05(2)(a). The Department of Social Services cannot coerce a child to use contraceptionSee 110 C.M.R. § 11.05(b).

MassHealth supply limitations for drugs used for family planning increased  
Pharmacists can dispense up to a 365-day supply of birth control to MassHealth members if requested, as long as a sufficient quantity remains on the prescription. 

Federal regulations

45 CFR § 147.132 Religious exemptions in connection with coverage of certain preventive health services

45 CFR Part 88 Protecting statutory conscience rights in health care, effective July 22, 2019
Allows health workers to refuse to perform or assist medical procedures, like abortion, sterilization, or assisted suicide, if it violates their “conscience” or religion. It applies to health care institutions receiving federal funding.

Selected case law

Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., 573 US 682, 134 S.Ct. 2751 (2014)
Under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, closely-held corporations are not required to follow the Affordable Care Act's mandate that insurance cover contraceptives, if to do so would violate their sincere religious beliefs.

Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 US 479 (1965)
Legalized distribution of contraception to married people.

Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 US 438 (1972)
Expanded Griswold to include unmarried people

Little Sisters of the Poor St. Peter and Paul Home v. Pennsylvania,140 S.Ct. 2367, (2020)
Employers can opt out of the Affordable Care Act's requirement to provide coverage for birth control if they have religious or moral objections. 

Massachusetts v. U.S. Dep't of Health and Human Services, 923 F.3d 209 (2019) 
Massachusetts has standing to challenge Federal regulations that allow employers to use a “moral exemption to deny insurance coverage for birth control." 

Tummino v. Hamburg, 936 F.Supp.2d 162 (2013)
Court ruled that the morning-after pill should be made available "without a prescription and without point-of-sale or age restrictions..."

Web sources

ACCESS, a Massachusetts law, means eligible people can get: a year’s supply of contraception and emergency contraception at no cost.  Info for pharmacists, providers, and insurers.

Emergency contraception services, Executive Office of Health and Human Services. 
Topics include: For Acute Care Hospitals with Emergency Departments, Consumer Information, Contact Information

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Plan B information
On June 6, 2013, the FDA approved sale of Plan B contraception over-the-counter to all women of child-bearing potential.

HelpSteps.com, Mass. 2-1-1 service.
"HelpSteps connects individuals to local health and human resources... The assessment and referral tools are available at no cost to anyone with access to the internet or a smart phone." Click on Sexual Health & Testing for information about emergency contraceptives in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Access Law, common questions and answers, Mass. Division of Insurance.
To help insurance companies, providers, pharmacists, and consumers understand the contraceptive access rights provided under the ACCESS law. 

Pharmacist-prescribed contraception, Guttmacher Institute. Chart of state laws and regulation on pharmacy access and pharmacist refusals.

ReproductiveRights.gov, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services
Up-to-date information provided by HHS on access to and coverage of reproductive health care and resources.

Sexual and Reproductive Health Program (SRHP), Mass. Dept. of Public Health
“The MDPH Sexual and Reproductive Health Program aims to reduce unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection rates by continually improving access to high quality education, outreach and clinical services through a statewide provider network and related special projects. Learn how to improve individual and community health…”

Print sources

Labor and employment in Massachusetts, by Jeffrey Hirsch. Lexis Law Publishing, loose-leaf. Sec.4-4 Types of Discrimination and Related Topics: ACA contraceptive mandate and exceptions; Sec.15-9 Discrimination, maternity leave, and prescription contraceptives.

Massachusetts health and hospital law manual, MCLE, 2014 with supplement, chapter 11: Patients' rights to emergency contraception. 

Family law and practice, 4th edition, Massachusetts practice series, Vol. 2, 2013 with supplement, chapter 27: birth control.

Contact

Last updated: September 23, 2022
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