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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Oregon Lawmakers To Consider Allowing Birth Control Without Doctor's Prescription

Daniela Alejandra Robles
Wikimedia Commons
A proposal in the Oregon House would allow would let pharmacists dispense oral contraceptives and contraceptive patches without prior approval by a doctor.

Oregon lawmakers will consider a proposal that would allow women to get oral contraceptives and contraceptive patches without a doctor's prescription.

The measure up for a possible vote in the House Rules Committee Wednesday would let pharmacists dispense the drugs without prior approval by a doctor.

Supporters say it would greatly expand access to birth control.

People would not have to go to a doctor first, which for some people could be a barrier if you don't have health insurance. This would allow you, if you have the money to purchase the birth control, to simply go and purchase the birth control.

When the idea first surfaced this session, critics questioned whether it was safe for women to take oral contraceptives without an initial screening by a doctor. The proposal under consideration would require pharmacists to complete a training program and offer customers a self-screening risk assessment tool.

The measure's backers say Oregon could become the first state to offer access to birth control in this way. A similar proposal has been approved in California but has yet to take effect.

Emergency contraception is already available without a prescription.