With the new year came new laws, and now two states will allow women access to hormonal birth control without needing a doctor’s prescription. As of January 1, Oregon women who are at least 18 are allowed to purchase birth control from a pharmacy. California is scheduled to follow suit in a couple of months.

According to KOIN, women will be able to walk into a pharmacy, fill out a health questionnaire and receive a year-long supply of birth control pills. While pharmacists are allowed to refuse prescriptions due to religious reasons, they must refer the customer somewhere else.

Dr. Alison Edelman of Oregon Health & Science University told KOIN she supports the new law, but points out some providers are afraid that women may not come in for preventative check-ups since they are able to get birth control at a pharmacy. “Just having birth control accessible through a pharmacist doesn’t mean preventative health care isn’t important. That’s not what this law is saying,” she said. “Really, they’re two different things we’re addressing. Obviously we try to hit all of those in one visit, but really we shouldn’t be holding women hostage for them to be getting their birth control.”

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In March, California will become the second state to allow over-the-counter birth control pills. It will have the same rules as Oregon — with the patient filling out a brief questionnaire before receiving the birth control. Details of the law are still being worked out in Sacramento, reports CBS Los Angeles.


Contact the author at marie.lodi@jezebel.com.

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