Medhealth Review

Bill Extending Access to Contraceptives Signed by New York State

In what could be considered an essential move in expanding re-productivity rights in New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul approves a bill that ensures improved contraceptive access. 

The bill means New Yorkers won’t require a medical prescription to buy contraceptives. 

However, New Yorkers have to wait until November 2024 to see the bill come into effect.

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A trained pharmacist can provide New Yorkers with self-administered hormonal contraceptives such as oral birth control pills, vaginal rings, and patches without a doctor’s or nurse practitioner’s prescription. 

The pharmacist would enter the patient’s name on the pertinent prescription after the patient completed a self-screening risk assessment form to enable the pharmacist to detect any risk factors and choose an appropriate contraceptive.

Medical practitioners will be able to send the risk assessment form to pharmacists. Further, pharmacists will be permitted to decline to dispense contraceptives if they believe doing so would endanger a patient’s health.

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“The legislation is part of a long journey to find more ways to protect women’s rights in New York. We’re going to do everything in our power to stop the backslide while expanding reproductive rights here in our state,” informs the Governor.

New York is not the first state to give freedom to pharmacists to distribute contraceptives. In fact, in 2016, Oregon State initiated such a move to improve access to contraception and lower unwanted births. 

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