California Now Allows Over the Counter Access to Birth Control Pills

Hormonal Birth Control No Longer Requires A Doctor’s Prescription in CA

by Avens O’Brien

Women in California can now purchase certain kinds of birth control (including pills) from a pharmacy after a brief consultation with a pharmacist, rather than having to visit a doctor. This law went into effect last week, though it was originally passed in 2013 and was held up by regulatory discussions.

This is a great step forward in making birth control even more accessible and affordable for the average American woman, enabling women to take better control of their reproductive health and preventing unwanted pregnancies and abortions.

This law covers self-administered hormonal birth control, such as pills, patches, injections and vaginal rings. A woman does have to do a short questionnaire and consultation with a pharmacist to ensure there are no health contraindications.

One would assume that those who oppose abortion would be thrilled by more preventative measures being taken to ensure less unwanted pregnancies, however California Right to Life spokeswoman Camille Giglio seems to have a problem with young women preventing unwanted pregnancy, claiming this will allow teenage girls to more easily get contraceptives.

She said in a statement, “They say it’s for women, but they mean anyone. The ability to get contraceptives from yet another source is not a benefit to young people, it is a barrier to communication between a mother and a child.”

The law does not include an age restriction (Oregon’s does), though pharmacists can refuse to fill prescriptions. Perhaps Giglio could consider that parents should try parenting their kids, instead of relying on government to create barriers of access for teenagers who may not be able to reach out to parents or afford a doctor’s visit. Less teenage pregnancy seems like a win, for pro-choice and pro-life groups alike.

California joins Oregon as the only states that currently allow access to hormonal birth control through a pharmacist, though Hawaii, New Mexico and Alaska are expected to follow suit.

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