You Need to Know About Colorado's Family Planning Initiative

Access to birth control may become a lot easier for women in Colorado. Under new health rules, some contraceptives — like the pill or the patch — will be available to women with just a pharmacist's prescription rather than one from a doctor.

According to the Denver Post, the rules stem from a 2016 law that allowed medical professionals and the health department the opportunity to "create protocols for pharmacists to provide services that tackle public health needs."

And they have. Through a "no wrong door" approach, women are provided with counseling services and contraceptive methods such as IUDs, other long-term birth control methods like implants and injections or the birth control pill.

Since, teen births and abortions have dropped nearly 50% and the birth-rate among teens who were already mothers dropped 58%, BoingBoing reported. Rates also fell 20 percent among women aged 20-24.

Even more, Oregon, Washington and Delaware plan to follow in Colorado's footsteps after each dollar spent on the Colorado Family Planning Initiative proved to save $5.85 over a three-year range in reduced family benefits and assistance payments. 

Further, the rules require women who are taking oral contraceptives to visit a doctor at least once every three years. Even if a prescription for the pill is initially granted by a pharmacist, a woman will still need to check in with her doctor at least once within that three-year span to continue the prescription long-term. But for college students who are far from their or need a first-time prescription for the pill — or for people in rural areas where the pharmacy is closer than a doctor — the rules ease the burden of having to visit a physician to obtain a prescription or consult with their primary-care provider for a refill.

Though some health care providers worry that the rules will have an adverse affect on patient care, the rules require any pharmacist who participates in the new program to have liability insurance, complete state-certified training, and notify a patient's primary-care physician when birth control is prescribed. The rules also state that participation is not mandatory and pharmacists can recuse themselves if they object on moral or ethical grounds.

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• New York’s Governor Just Safeguarded Free Access to Birth Control and Medically Necessary Abortions for More Than 2 Million Women

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