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Prescription-Free Birth Control Coming To California

Credit: flickr\Anqa

A package of birth control pills is shown, July 3, 2007.

Aired 2/16/16 on KPBS News.

Supporters say the new practice will increase access to contraceptives, while some fear fewer women will get screened for sexually transmitted diseases.


Midday Edition

Prescription-Free Birth Control Coming To California


Sarah McBane, president, California Pharmacists Association

Amy Moy, vice president of public affairs, California Family Health Council

Midday Edition airs Monday - Friday at noon on KPBS Radio.

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Coming soon: prescription-free birth control.

This spring, a doctor's prescription will no longer be needed for women to buy birth control in California.

A law authorizing pharmacists to dispense hormonal contraceptives was passed in 2013. It's expected to be enacted this April.

California will become the third state to allow pharmacists to furnish birth control without a prescription. They’ll be able to dispense hormonal patches, pills and vaginal rings.

Women will have to answer a brief screening questionnaire before they get birth control. It’s designed to reveal any health concerns that might prompt a referral to a doctor.

There is no age requirement for women to buy birth control in California.

Supporters say the law will increase access to contraceptives and reduce unwanted pregnancies.

But some fear it could have unintended consequences. There’s concern that not requiring a doctor’s visit could mean fewer women will get screened for sexually transmitted diseases.

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