In Oregon, No Doctor Needed for Birth Control Prescriptions


The temporary appearance of the Bundy clan notwithstanding, Oregon is a pretty cool state. Starting this year, women in Oregon can get hormonal contraceptives directly from a pharmacy—no doctor’s prescription required. The New York Times provides the details:

These birth control methods — which include pills, patches and rings — will still require prescriptions (so they are not technically over the counter), but now pharmacists who complete the Oregon training protocol can issue those prescriptions directly. At the pharmacy, women must complete a 20-question self-assessment so that pharmacists can determine which hormonal methods might be appropriate and safe. About 200 pharmacists in Oregon have completed the training so far and an aide to the bill’s sponsor said that most of the major chain pharmacies, including Rite Aid, Costco and Walgreens, have signed agreements to train a significant number of pharmacists.

….Under the Affordable Care Act, all prescription birth control is covered by insurance. The only possible additional cost is a one-time or annual fee of $25 or so for the assessment services provided by the pharmacist. It is possible that insurers will cover that fee, but that is yet to be determined.

Good for Oregon. Making contraceptives more easily available leads to more consistent use, which in turn makes them more effective. Every state should do this.

And California, which is also a pretty cool state, is following suit later this year. Unlike Oregon, which requires a doctor to write the first prescription for women under 18, California’s law has no age restriction at all. In the contest for coolness, California will soon be taking the lead.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.