California legislators recently announced that a new law allowing women to access birth control without a doctor's prescription has gone into effect, according to ABC News. Women of all ages in the state can now obtain different types of administered hormonal contraception (like the Pill, the patch, or the ring) by visiting their local pharmacy and completing a questionnaire.
California is now the third state after Washington and Oregon to allow women direct access to birth control. By making contraceptives more readily available, state officials hope to decrease unintended pregnancies. Whether pharmacists will charge for screenings and dispensing birth control is still to be determined, but if a woman's health care plan includes contraceptives, this initiative will continue to cover them.
Several other states, including New Mexico, Missouri, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Hawaii, are looking to follow California's lead and pass similar legislation that allows pharmacists to directly distribute birth control. Federal legislation has also been proposed to make birth control truly over-the-counter.
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