RI lawmakers consider proposal to expand access to birth control


PROVIDENCE, RI (AP) — Rhode Island lawmakers are considering a proposal allowing pharmacists to give people birth control without a doctor’s approval.

The Rhode Island House of Representatives last week approved a bill that would allow pharmacists to prescribe a contraceptive.

The measure is currently under consideration in the Senate, where similar legislation has been introduced.

In about a dozen states and Washington, DC, lawmakers have passed new laws to allow pharmacists to dispense hormonal contraceptives. North Carolina was one of the newest.

A new legal provision came into force there on February 1 to allow women to obtain birth control pills and patches from a pharmacy without a doctor’s prescription.

Rep. Camille Vella-Wilkinson introduced the bill at the Rhode Island House to authorize a pharmacist to prescribe and dispense hormonal contraceptives, as long as they complete a state-approved training program.

The Warwick Democrat said taking time off work, finding transportation to a clinic and paying for a doctor’s visit is a lot of work to get birth control. She said she thinks the change could lead to lower abortion rates.

“Pharmacist-prescribed contraception would improve the quality of life for so many women, which is an important goal of our evolving health care system,” she said in a statement.


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