This content is intended to serve as general information; it is not legal advice nor intended as legal advice.
As of January 1, 2020 thanks to a new contraceptive insurance coverage law, New Mexico has some of the most expansive and strongest laws in the country that guarantee your right to obtain confidential and affordable contraception and related services.
- Whether you’re married, in a relationship, single, or under 18 you have rights. You have the right to:
- Receive accurate information about all your sexual and reproductive health care options;
- Make your own decisions about sexual and reproductive health care;
- Decide what you want to do if you’re pregnant (continuing the pregnancy, abortion, or adoption);
- Get free or low-cost care if you can’t afford to pay for it.
You do NOT have to:
- Get anyone’s permission to have an abortion, have a baby, or get contraception;
- Get anyone’s permission to get tested or treated for STIs;
- Tell anyone about your decision;
- Tell a health care provider your citizenship status. You do not have to tell health center staff if you are undocumented or that you do not have a social security number. Instead, tell staff that you do not qualify for insurance or ask about self-pay options for patients.
If you plan to have sex and don’t want to get pregnant, you have a number of options for contraception from condoms to permanent sterilization. Talk to your doctor, go to a family planning clinic, or check out www.bedsider.org to learn more about your contraception options. Most private and public insurance plans are required to cover contraception at no cost to you. There are also free or low-cost programs in New Mexico that can help pay for contraception if you need it.
For a list of Department of Health Family Planning Clinics please visit: https://nmhealth.org/location/public/
Is my insurance required to cover contraception?
Yes. Federal law requires health insurance carriers to cover all FDA-identified methods of contraception and requires this coverage to be provided without any out-of-pocket costs to the patient (like co-pays or deductibles). Additionally, NM state law requires coverage of FDA-identified contraception at no out-of-pocket cost to patients and without other medically unnecessary hurdles. See 59A-22-42 NMSA 1978.
What if I don’t have health insurance?
The New Mexico Department of Health Family Planning Program offers low- or no-cost clinical services provided in public health offices statewide and some community and school-based health centers. Clinical services include birth control, counseling, and laboratory tests.
Barrier methods like condoms, diaphragms, or sponges are relatively affordable and available over the counter. Some forms of contraception, like the pill, may be affordable without insurance. The cost of generic versions of contraception is usually significantly lower than the brand name. Some health care providers may provide some versions of contraception at a lower cost or with payment options.
To see if you are eligible for New Mexico Medicaid, go to https://www.benefits.gov/benefit/1636#Eligibility_Checker.
What kinds of contraception are available?
There are 18 FDA identified methods of contraception and they generally fall into these categories: permanent sterilization; Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives (IUDs and implants); Contraceptive injection (the shot); short-acting hormonal methods (the pill, the ring, the patch); barrier methods (condoms, diaphragms, sponges); and emergency contraception.
Can I get contraception directly from a pharmacist?
Yes. In NM, pharmacists with special training can prescribe contraception and emergency contraception like Plan B. Ask your pharmacist if they’re able to prescribe! You still need to go to a clinician if the contraception needs to be inserted like an IUD or hormonal implant.
Can the pharmacist refuse to give me contraception?
In New Mexico, pharmacies that stock contraception drugs and devices must give patients timely access to them and cannot turn patients away. A pharmacist cannot, for example, prevent you from obtaining contraception because you aren’t married or because it conflicts with the pharmacists’ personal or religious beliefs. The pharmacy must have rules in place to ensure that, whatever the pharmacist’s personal views, you can obtain the medicine you need.
If you are denied contraception, ask to speak to the manager or other staff member. You can say “It’s my legal right to purchase contraception at your pharmacy. I’d like to speak to another staff member or your manager.” If the pharmacist refuses to give you contraception, write down their name and the name of the pharmacy, and contact the ACLU of New Mexico.
How much contraception can I get at once?
As of January 1, 2020, you may be able to get up to a six-month supply of certain kinds of contraception at one time. Health insurance carriers are required to cover up to a six-months supply at one time. If you have Medicaid, you are able to get up to a year’s supply at one time. See 59A-22-42 NMSA 1978.
Asserting your rights can be challenging and overwhelming, so always do what feels comfortable to you. If you think your rights have been violated, document everything you can about the incident. You can contact the ACLU using the legal complaint form on our website.