Birth Control In California Now Available Without Prescription: Will Other States Follow?

Birth control is now legal in California without a prescription, actually making it more accessible to women who may be regretting the potential loss of Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics. The contraception method is still looked down upon by religious groups due to a belief that abortion is murder.

Many other states will likely fight this new trend which has now spread to three states, officially covering the entire West Coast. Oregon and Washington were the first to make “the pill” available directly from a pharmacist, and California could be a game changer.

California is the home of Hollywood, and tends to be seen as a role model for other states. However, the state, especially Southern California, has a high crime rate.

This new California law might, by extension, eventually cut down on crime in those areas by allowing the residents to avoid unwanted pregnancies.

If Hollywood embraces the new birth control law, there is no telling how far the law will extend in like-minded states. It will be a notoriously difficult law to get passed in the South, however. States from Texas to Virginia are known as the “Bible Belt,” which tend to be extremely conservative, and might consider birth control to be something to be abolished instead.

The idea of contraception is a slippery legal slope, because even though the Bible states it to be a direct sin, some women might not feel they have a choice. Rape is a crime which violates a woman’s rights, and women bear the consequences, sometimes alone. In other instances, a young couple might not be financially ready to start a family, but the wife ends up pregnant anyway. An abortion is sometimes considered the lesser of two evils for those women.

Of course you can’t simply walk into a California pharmacy, expect to just get a pill, patch, or syringe, and walk out. You still have to fill out a questionnaire, so the pharmacist can determine if the birth control you requested is safe for you. Devices which need to be inserted into the ladies’ nether regions, such as the IUD, will still need to be administered by a licensed doctor.

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One common problem with some forms of planned parenthood is that sometimes the woman develops headaches or other complications. Obstetrician Dr. Deepjot Singh says that a good half of women who start using birth control must switch to another type within the first year. She also states that pharmacists should not replace actual doctor visits. University of Southern California Professor Kathleen Besinque adds, “The point isn’t that women have to go to a pharmacy. It’s just one more option.”

If more states adopt this law, we could see women not mourning the possible loss of Planned Parenthood as much. Many unplanned pregnancies can be avoided this way, decreasing the burden on the healthcare system all around.

Many kinds of health insurance may cover the cost which pharmacists could charge on top of the purchase, since it’s unknown if they will tack on a fee for the consultation. ObamaCare, also known as the Affordable Care Act, has been said to offer the option, and the nuns at Little Sisters of the Poor felt the option violates their beliefs.

What do you think of California allowing birth control to be dispensed at pharmacies?

[Feature image via Scott Olson / Getty Images]