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Know Your Rights: Reproductive Health Care

Reproductive health care, including access to birth control and safe and legal abortion care, is an essential part of your health and well-being. While Roe v. Wade was overturned, abortion remains legal in many states, and other reproductive health care services remain protected by law. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is committed to providing you with accurate and up-to-date information about access to and coverage of reproductive health care and resources. Our goal is to make sure you have appropriate information and support.

Your Reproductive Rights

Below you will find information on your right to access care and have it covered by your insurance or other health care coverage if you have it, where to go if you don’t have coverage, and how to get information if you don’t know.

Most health insurance plans – whether you have public (e.g., Medicaid) or private health coverage (e.g., coverage through the Affordable Care Act Marketplace or through your employer) – cover family planning counseling, birth control, and other preventive services at no cost to you.

Your Right to Emergency Care

The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) requires that, for any individual showing up to a hospital emergency room with an emergency medical condition, the hospital is required to provide you with the stabilizing medical care necessary to save your health or life, including abortion care. To learn more click here.

Your Right to Birth Control

Under the Affordable Care Act, most health plans are required to provide you with birth control and family planning counseling with no out-of-pocket costs. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Hormonal methods, like birth control pills and vaginal rings
  • Implanted devices, like intrauterine devices (IUDs)
  • Emergency contraception, like Plan B® and ella®
  • Barrier methods, like diaphragms and sponges
  • Patient education and counseling
  • Sterilization procedures
  • And any additional contraceptives approved, granted, or cleared by the FDA

To learn more about birth control coverage requirements for different types of health insurance plans, visit here. To learn more about FDA approved contraceptive methods, visit here.

Your Right to Medication

Under guidance issued by HHS, roughly 60,000 U.S. retail pharmacies were reminded of the unique role they play in ensuring access to reproductive health care services under federal civil rights laws. This action is one of many taken by HHS to support President Biden's directive to ensure access to reproductive health care, including abortion care.

Read the guidance sent to the nation's retail pharmacies

Your Right to Access Abortion Services

Following the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, access to abortion will depend on the state you live in even more than before.

  • Medication abortion has been approved by the FDA since 2000 as a safe and effective option. Federal regulation permits medication abortion to be dispensed by telehealth and sent by mail via certified prescribers and pharmacies, in addition to in-person dispensing in clinics, medical offices, and hospitals.
  • Under federal law, federal Medicaid funds can cover abortion services only in the circumstances of rape, incest or if the patient’s life is in danger. However, there are over a dozen states that provide coverage for abortion services using state Medicaid funds. To find out more on state funding of abortions under Medicaid visit this website.
  • If you need help paying for an abortion, abortion funds may be able to provide financial assistance. Information about abortion funds and resources to help are available at AbortionFinder.org
  • If you need information on your state’s laws or legal help, you may consider this website: AbortionFinder.org

Your Right to Access Other Preventive Health Services

Under law, you have the right to access other preventive health services with no out-of-pocket costs under most health insurance plans. Most health insurance plans are required to cover women’s preventive health services, including:

  • Well-woman visits to screen your health at any time, including a pap smear, breast exam and regular checkup
  • Counseling and screening services
  • Breast and cervical cancer screenings
  • Prenatal care, which is care you would receive while pregnant
  • Breastfeeding services and supplies
  • Interpersonal violence screening and counseling (e.g., sexual assault evidence collection exams)
  • HIV screening and STI counseling

If You Do Not Have Health Insurance Coverage

HHS Complaints

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces federal civil rights laws that prohibit discriminatory restrictions on access to health care. If you believe that your or another person’s civil rights or health information privacy rights have been violated, you can file a complaint with HHS here.

Patient Privacy

Understand your rights to protect your private medical information under federal law. If you think your privacy has been violated, please visit: How to File a HIPAA Complaint to file a complaint.

The guidance on Protecting the Privacy and Security of Your Health Information When Using Your Personal Cell Phone or Tablet may be found here.