Birth control without prescription will become a reality in Oregon and California, local authorities have recently announced.
Starting from 2016, both Oregon and California will reduce restrictions regarding hormonal contraceptives, by allowing such medicine to be purchased without having to obtain a medical prescription in advance.
The first to turn birth control pills into over-the-counter drugs will be Oregon, following legislation which was approved by Governor Kate Brown, on July 1, 2015.
The new law, which will be in effect starting from January 1, will be applicable to female patients aged 18 and upwards.
Would-be buyers will no longer have to visit a gynecologist, obstetrician or dermatologist in order to be recommended suitable oral contraceptives and hormonal patches.
Instead, they will simply have to complete a questionnaire related to their general health; based on the answers they provide, the pharmacist will be the one to either approve or deny the prescription.
So as to have this additional responsibility, drug store personnel will have to complete a training related to birth contraceptive methods and their potential risks and side effects.
While it will be possible for the clerk to refuse to dispense such treatment, citing religious concerns, the client will have to be directed to another pharmacy or employee, in order to try once again to obtain birth control.
Moreover, from March onward, California will also ease rules related to hormonal pills, making them even slacker than the ones just introduced in Oregon.
More precisely, in the Golden State it will be relatively easy to buy birth control regardless of one’s actual age, and without having a physician signing off this treatment in advance.
Advocates of this resolution, such as Dr. Alison Edelman, are emphasizing that lowering the importance and imperativeness of a prescription doesn’t mean women shouldn’t continue to monitor their health, while guided by a highly qualified medical practitioner.
Instead, regular cervical and breast cancer screenings, as well as other check-ups should still be carried out, in order to detect problems and injuries in a timely fashion.
Also, while it is true that implementing these laws will grant more extensive and convenient access to birth control than ever before, the downside is that if this treatment becomes available over the counter, women will have to pay for it themselves.
Through the Affordable Care Act, contraceptive methods approved by health care providers are considered to be covered by health insurance, without the patient incurring any additional costs.
This gratuity refers to permanent sterilization procedures (tubal ligation), barrier methods (diaphragms, spermicidal foams, films and sponges, female and male condoms), hormonal alternatives (vaginal rings, birth control pills), emergency contraception and long-acting reversible contraception (intrauterine devices and birth control implants).
Therefore, if oral contraceptives are made available without prescription, they will no longer be available for free, and might cease to be included in the Affordable Care Act.
As a result, some believe that this legislation, supported by Republicans, is actually designed to make birth control less convenient than before, sabotaging Obamacare.
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