Tenn. GOP State Sen.’s Bill Would Let Women Buy Birth Control Without Doctor Visit

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Last week, Tenn. Republican State Senator Dr. Steven Dickerson of District 20 in Nashville introduced Senate Bill 1677, a proposal aimed at allowing women to purchase birth control directly from pharmacists without first obtaining a doctor’s prescription.

Dr. Dickerson, an anesthesiologist, wrote in an op-ed in The Tennessean, “By some accounts, almost half of pregnancies are either unintentional or ‘mistimed.’ We need to do better. One logical solution is to make contraception easier to obtain. Easier access to contraception will lead to higher use, and higher use will lead to fewer unintended pregnancies.

Dickerson’s bill would stop just short of making birth control over-the-counter, but instead would allow pharmacists to provide the medication directly to women without a doctor’s prescription after “reviewing a list of possible risks and risk factors” with them. He characterized this type of process where a pharmacist prescribes birth control as “behind-the-counter.”

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