California has finally cleared the way for women to get and easy access to birth control pills, without needing a prescription from a doctor. California has become the second state in the United States to allow pharmacists to offer birth control pills to women.
Oregon as the only state which gives right to its pharmacists to prescribe birth control to women will be joined by California. A 2013 law that allows California pharmacists to directly provide prescription contraceptives went into effect. However, there are some critics who oppose the newly introduced practice.
Senate Bill 493, introduced by Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina, allows pharmacists the authority to furnish oral (the pill), transdermal (the patch), vaginal (the ring), and Depo-Provera injection prescription birth control methods for women. This means that there is no more need to fix appointment with gynecologist to seek the best prescription for birth control. This could also give wrong message to the teens according to opponents of the law.
There are certain things pharmacies have to be prepared for. Some pharmacies have even started training their employees for the new challenge. It is mandatory for pharmacists to ask a patient to complete a health questionnaire and to consult with the patient about the most appropriate form of birth control. In some cases, taking a patient’s blood pressure is required by pharmacists.
Among the opponents is California Right to Life. They say that availability of birth control from another source could not benefit young people and would build gap between a mother and a child communication over the matter.
A report published in LA Times said, “Many public health advocates and doctors say that birth control is extremely safe and point to studies that show that women can generally choose one that works well for them. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the largest group representing OB/GYNs, supports legislation that would make birth control truly over-the-counter.”
Women requesting birth control will have to complete a health questionnaire. A pharmacist will also consult with the patient about the most suitable form of birth control. In some cases, they will have to take the woman’s blood pressure before issuing a prescription.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration can decide if a medicine can be available over-the-counter. The most state legislators can do to increase access to birth control is to allow medical providers other than doctors, such as pharmacists, to furnish the medication.