Women in Oregon will soon be able to receive birth control prescriptions from pharmacists, thanks to a new law signed by Gov. Kate Brown this week. Under the new rule, birth control can be obtained without the added burden of scheduling a doctor’s visit. The bill passed the state’s house in a 50-10 bipartisan vote.
To get birth control from a pharmacist, women over 18 will have to fill out a simple health questionnaire so that pharmacists can recommend the best contraceptive method for them. Those under 18 will need proof of a previous birth control prescription, but aren’t required to get a new one. The contraception will still be covered by the patient’s insurance.
State Rep. Knute Buehler (R) celebrated the bill in a press release, saying that his background as a medical professional informed his beliefs on access to contraception:
It makes no sense that men should have unrestricted access to contraceptives, while women must first get a prescription from their physician. As a doctor, I believe birth control should be as easy and accessible as possible. If a woman wants to purchase birth control at her local pharmacy, she should be able to do that without having to schedule an appointment with a doctor.
California was the first state to pass this type of law, but Oregon could be the first state to actually implement it. The law comes on the heels of previous Oregon legislation that allows women to get 12 months of birth control dispensed at once, instead of returning to the pharmacy every 30 or 90 days.