Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Vaccines | Racial Justice

Over-The-Counter Birth Control Pills Will Soon Be Available In California

We're sorry. This audio clip is no longer available. A transcript has been made available.

Photo caption:

Photo credit: lookcatalog\flickr

Birth control pills are shown in a pharmaceutical packet, March 30, 2013.

Beginning this fall, California women will no longer need a prescription to buy birth control pills or other hormonal contraceptives.

California women will be able to buy birth control pills and other hormonal contraceptives without a prescription starting this fall, but they'll have to go through a few preliminary steps.

The Legislature passed the measure in 2013 and Gov. Jerry Brown signed it into law, but it has taken nearly two years for the various medical boards to agree on regulations to carry it out.

Under the measure, patients will first have to get their blood pressure taken by a pharmacist. Next, they’ll need to answer a health questionnaire that’s designed to indicate whether they may have problems with the medication.

The California Right To Life Committee Inc. believes the health of women who use self-administered hormonal contraceptives could be at risk without a doctor's supervision.

Sarah McBane, president of the California Pharmacists Association, said those concerns are unjustified.

“Birth control, in general, is very, very safe and effective," McBane said. "And really, we’re looking at this as a way to make it more accessible to more women.”

The law authorizing the sale of contraceptives over-the-counter has no age restrictions. In California, minors already have the right to obtain family planning services without a parent's permission.

California and Oregon are the only states that have passed laws making hormonal contraceptives available without a prescription.


San Diego News Now podcast branding

San Diego news; when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County's NPR and PBS station.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Midday Edition banner

KPBS Midday Edition is a daily radio news magazine keeping San Diego in the know on everything from politics to the arts.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.