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.