Women in California can now get birth control directly from their pharmacy without a doctor's prescription. All they need to do is talk to a pharmacist and fill out a questionnaire, according to the Los Angeles Times.
There is no age minimum, and the law covers self-administered hormonal birth control, such as pills, patches, injections, and vaginal rings. More involved forms like IUDs and implants still have to be administered by a doctor.
California originally passed the law in 2012, but it was held up until now; it is the third state in the country with this policy — Washington and Oregon already have it in place, as does Washington DC.
Here's how it will work:
- You'll fill out a questionnaire and the pharmacist will take your blood pressure to make sure birth control is safe for you.
- You'll chat with the phamacist about what kind of birth control is best for you, depending on factors like how the birth control works and side effects.
- The pharmacist will remind you that birth control doesn't protect against STDs and that it's still important to get screenings and pap smears to look for precancers.
- You'll get the birth control and a birth control fact sheet.
Many women on Twitter were quick to praise the law:
"Women now don't need a prescription to get birth control pills in California"— Megan Kelly Valente (@megankcomedy) April 11, 2016
*Walks up to CVS like* pic.twitter.com/as9btWs8kS
California birth control w/o a prescription!!! YES!!!— wong kar y r u lik dis ⛈ (@hautewing) April 11, 2016
This is amazing! Go California! https://t.co/NyNpwJAPze— Krystel Viehmann, LM (@TaprootMidwife) April 11, 2016
So have others in the medical profession who view these laws as a major step in halting unplanned pregnancies. Dr. Nancy Stanwood, an obstetrician and chairwoman of the board of Physicians For Reproductive Health, called the these states "incubators, which may end up being a model at the national level" in an interview with The New York Times. She added: "We need to think outside of that old-fashioned box that just doesn't apply to women's lives now."