New law to allow OTC birth control now is first in US.
Women over the age of 18 will be allowed to purchase birth control medication without a doctor’s prescription in the state of Oregon, thanks to a new law just going into effect in 2016, according to an article on UPI.com.
Oregon’s legislature passed the law in 2015, making Oregon the first state in the United States to allow such purchases, but California is reportedly about to follow suit with its own version of the law.
There are still some restrictions, however. Women will have to complete a questionnaire at the pharmacy, in which trained pharmacists will evaluate the person’s overall health, based on the answers supplied by the customer.
Pharmacists who will be dispensing the medications will be attending a mandatory training session before they are allow to participate in the program in the state. The providers are free to decline to provide birth control for religious reasons, but even if they object to the use of the products, they are required to refer the customer to a pharmacy that can supply the items they are seeking.
Although a visit to the doctor is no longer going to be required to receive birth control, supports of the law say they encourage women to continue to seek preventative health care by visiting their doctors on a regular basis.
That is the part of the law that has its critics concerned. Some worry that younger women will forgo the regular checkups, and this will lead to an increase in preventable cancers and other related issues. The Centers for Disease and Control (CDC) says cervical cancer is the reproductive cancer system’s easiest to detect and prevent through consistent doctor checkups.
The implementation of the new law means more choices for women, which feminists applaud, citing doctors that require visits by women just to keep their birth control prescriptions in force, and saying there is little risk involved with taking the medications, compared to many other over the counter drugs.
Supporters feel that women should see preventative health care and birth control as two separate functions and should be addressed individually.