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

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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.

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