January 8, 2015 — Measures to ease Washington, D.C.'s restrictions on surrogacy and allow women to access a larger supply of birth control in one prescription were among the bills proposed by D.C. Council members as a new term started Tuesday, the Washington Post reports.
Council member Charles Allen (D) proposed a bill that would end the district's ban on surrogacy, thus eliminating potential penalties of jail time and a $10,000 fine for use of a surrogate. Allen has called the district of one of the five most-restricted jurisdictions in the U.S. regarding surrogacy laws.
All other council members joined Allen in co-sponsoring the measure, which also was introduced last year but failed to reach a vote. Many of the district's gay rights groups support the measure, the Post reports.
Meanwhile, Council Chair Phil Mendelson (D) proposed a measure that would enable women to obtain a year's supply of birth control with one prescription. The National Organization for Women also supports the measure.
Mendelson said the bill "makes the use of contraceptives more likely because women who are unable to access birth control often forgo birth control all together."
New Members Could Increase Bills' Likelihood of Passage
According to the Post, some council members have predicted that the new council -- which comprises younger, more liberal members than those serving in the previous two-year term -- could be more likely to pass "progressive" measures that have languished in past sessions (Davis, Washington Post, 1/6).