States Advance Reforms That Expand Access To Birth Control
One state level reform that has gained bipartisan support and been enacted in 10 states, both blue and red, is what’s referred to as the pharmacy-access model. Simply put, pharmacy-access model legislation changes state law in order to allow pharmacists to prescribe hormonal birth control, saving women a trip to the doctor. Such reforms are particularly beneficial to lower income and rural households whose access to a physician is limited due to financial and geographic constraints.
Much of the model is consistent across states but there are some key differences,” Courtney Joslin & Steven Greenhut explain in a 2018 R Street Institute report that looks at the pharmacy-access approach. “For example, every state that has pharmacy-access in place allows pharmacists to prescribe both birth control pills or a transdermal birth control patch. Others allow other forms of birth control, such as vaginal rings. Some states only allow women 18 and above to receive birth control prescriptions from pharmacists, while others do not have age restrictions”
In 2015 Oregon became the first state to implement pharmacy-access legislation. California was technically the first to pass this reform, but regulatory hurdles delayed implementation until 2016, which is very on brand for California. Colorado, Hawaii, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Tennessee, and Utah have since followed suit.