Oregon just passed a law allowing over-the-counter birth control prescriptions. Which states will follow in its path?
As we reported earlier, the state of Oregon has recently approved the sale of over-the-counter birth control. According to a UPI report, pharmacists will now be able to prescribe birth control pills to women who qualify following a series of new laws for the 2016 legislative year.
Oregon was the first state to adopt the new policy, and California is expected to follow suit soon. The reform may create a ripple effect, prompting other states to reconsider their birth control laws in the near future as well.
But the changes might take some time to roll out. Under the new law, pharmacists will have to attend a mandatory training session before they can begin prescribing birth control pills over the counter. The law allows providers to decline offering birth control for religious reasons, which has the potential to come to a head at a later point; the law requires them to turn people seeking birth control towards a pharmacist that would be willing to write a prescription.
Critics of the law worry that it could encourage young women to skip regular checkups with their doctor, which could lead to an uptick in preventable diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cervical cancer is easy to detect through regular checkups and could be prevented with frequent visits.
Proponents of the law see it as a major victory for reproductive health. Access to birth control has almost been universally shown to decrease the amount of unintended pregnancies, and the new law makes accessing it about as easy as any other medication you could find at the pharmacy. Women seeking birth control must be over the age of 18 and will be required to fill out a health questionnaire before a prescription is written.
“Just having birth control accessible through a pharmacist doesn’t mean preventative health care isn’t important,” says Dr. Alison Edelman, a vocal supporter of the new Oregon law.
The new law, entitled House Bill 2879, can be read here.