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Bill that would expand access to birth control passes NJ Senate

Bill that would expand access to birth control passes NJ Senate

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TRENTON — The state Senate on Thursday passed a bill that would expand access to birth control by allowing pharmacists to dispense the items without a prescription.

The legislation was sponsored by Sens. Shirley Turner and Joseph Vitale.

“Birth control is a crucial piece of reproductive health care. Roughly half of the pregnancies in New Jersey are unintended, and nearly all unintended pregnancies are attributed to women who do not use birth control,” said Turner, D-Hunterdon, Mercer. “Making contraceptives available without an individual script will make them more affordable and more accessible to low- and moderate-income women. This legislation will give women more control over their bodies and their reproductive health, reducing unintended pregnancies and abortions.”

Under the proposal, pharmacists could dispense certain self-administered hormonal contraceptives, such as birth control pills and vaginal rings, without a prescription. The bill would require the Board of Pharmacy and the State Board of Medical Examiners to issue a standing order authorizing pharmacists to do so.

“It’s documented. The more accessible contraceptives are for men and women, the more effective they are at preventing unintended pregnancies,” said Vitale, D-Middlesex, chair of the Senate Health Committee. “This is smart legislation that puts us on par with numerous states across the nation, and I’m proud that in New Jersey we are trying to make smart health decisions easier, not harder.”

The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 30-6.

An identical bill was introduced in the Assembly on June 1 and is pending before the Health Committee.

Contact Claire Lowe:


Twitter @clairelowe

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