New Yorkers will gain access to birth control at local pharmacies without a doctor’s prescription following the signing of the Birth Control Access Act by Governor Kathy Hochul.
However, it will take at least a year for the Legislature and regulatory agencies to finalize the details. The act allows pharmacists to prescribe and distribute three forms of female contraception, namely the pill, the patch, and the ring, by creating a statewide standing order.
The initiative is part of the state’s response to last year’s federal government’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, which limited access to abortion and reproductive healthcare across the nation. New York currently ranks near the bottom in the country for the number of contraceptive providers per person, but the new legislation, already enacted in at least 20 other states, has the potential to more than double the number of providers.
The state Department of Health is now responsible for developing guidelines to train pharmacists in screening patients and dispensing birth control, with the bill set to take effect in 18 months.
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