Skip to main content

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

Prescription-Free Birth Control Coming To California

Photo caption:

Photo credit: flickr\Anqa

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

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


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.

Subscribe to the podcast.

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.


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.