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Hobbs expands free birth control for state employees in Arizona

Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs issued an executive order Friday expanding access to free birth control for state employees. She’s also ordering state agencies to look into expanding access to in vitro fertilization. 

In 2023, the FDA approved a birth control pill called Opill, which can be purchased over the counter. It was made available in Arizona in March, but under the state health-care plan, people couldn't get it for free without a prescription.

Hobbs directed the Department of Administration to classify Opill and any similar future over-the-counter birth control as an “essential health benefit” and make it available to state employees for free, without a prescription. 

Hobbs also requested a report on the feasibility of creating a new health-care benefits plan that covers IVF and other forms of contraception. 

Hobbs said she issued the order in response to the recent state Supreme Court ruling upholding a near-total abortion ban in Arizona law, as well as the GOP-controlled Legislature’s refusal to consider legislation protecting the right to contraception.

Finally, Hobbs directed the state’s Medicaid program to “consider available options to expand access to contraception for its members.” A report is requested by the end of June.

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Camryn Sanchez is a field correspondent at KJZZ covering everything to do with state politics.