Two States Let Women Buy the Pill Without Prescription

Oregon, California allow women to buy it without a prescription
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 12, 2015 3:40 PM CDT

(Newser) – Women in Oregon and California will be the first to walk into a drug store and order birth control pills right from the pharmacist—no prescription needed. Oregon's bill was signed into law last week and California's, passed two years ago, is being fine-tuned into regulations by state officials, USA Today reports. The laws also allow pharmacists to dispense other hormonal contraceptives without a prescription. Women's health advocates applauded the move: "We were pleased to hear from several male legislators who testified that they deferred to their wives in seeking guidance on their vote," says an official at Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon, per the Oregonian. "[It shows why] birth control decisions should stay between a woman and her doctor, not politicians."

Another beneficiary is physicians burdened by long lines of patients, like Americans now insured by ObamaCare and Baby Boomers getting Medicare as they turn 65, NPR reports. But it's no quickie trip to the drug store: Pharmacists will still have to give women health screenings before dispensing the contraception. The laws—which should kick in by October 1 in California and after New Year's in Oregon—arrive as the US Congress is debating birth-control access. Both parties agree to the no-prescription idea, but Republicans don't want insurers footing the bill. Democrats say that would keep many women in poverty from getting birth control. Neither the Oregon nor California laws consider the question of insurance coverage. (See why Oregon women can stock up on the birth-control patch.)

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