A groundbreaking new law makes Oregon the first state to do so.
The state of Oregon has just made it legal for pharmacists to prescribe birth control pills to qualifying women — part of a bunch of new state laws that will take effect this year.
Oregon is now the first state to put such a law into effect, but California is close on its heels, according to a UPI report.
That means women no longer need a doctor to sign off on a supply of birth control pills — although women should still seek guidance on preventative health from a doctor.
The move removes an obstacle to getting birth control, making it all the more easy for women to go on the pill. Birth control has been the subject of plenty of controversy in the U.S. in recent years, with religious organizations often opposing efforts to make birth control easier to get.
And there are still likely to be obstacles even with this latest law, as pharmacists around the country have reportedly refused to fill prescriptions for birth control. According to a report from the National Women’s Law Foundation, reports of pharmacies refused to fill prescriptions for birth control have cropped up in 25 states, including Oregon. They are always based on religious beliefs rather than on medical and professional concerns.
Women will still need to fill out a health questionnaire that pharmacists will examine and then use to determine if the individual should get a prescription. Pharmacists can refuse for religious reasons but are required to refer the individual to another pharmacy.
For the pharmacists, they’ll have to be trained before they are allowed to prescribe birth control.
That’s not the only new law to be enacted in the state of Oregon. The state will also now have automated voter registrations, a wording change on state marriage licenses from “husband and wife” to “spousees in legal marriage,” and employees will get paid sick days.