The pill without a prescription

Two states will soon allow women to get birth control pills without a physician’s prescription.

California and Oregon has passed laws that will allow women to get hormonal contraceptives directly from their pharmacists.

That’s not to say picking up birth control pills will be as easy to get as cold medicine.

In California, pharmacists can only dispense contraceptives after providing a health screening and taking the woman’s blood pressure, according to a CNN article.

Oregon will also require a health screening, but the specifics haven’t been developed, according to the article.

The California law is expected to go into effect after Oct. 1 and Oregon’s law after Jan. 1, according to CNN.

California’s law has no age restriction on patients. But in Oregon, pharmacists will only be able to give new birth control prescriptions to women 18 or older. Women younger than 18 must show proof of prior birth control prescriptions from a physician, according to the article.

The California law will also allow pharmacists to prescribe other medications, such as travel medicines, smoking cessation and naloxone, which is used for opioid overdoses.

Until it goes into effect, however, pharmacists can only provide emergency contraceptives without a prescription, according to CNN.

So how long before Washington follows suit?

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at or 360-735-4546.

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