A Nashville lawmaker proposes making birth control pills available over the counter, an idea that could make Tennessee the third state to allow women to buy oral contraceptives without a prescription.
Republican State Sen. Steve Dickerson says he will soon introduce a bill that would require a woman only to talk to a pharmacist before buying an oral contraceptive. That would eliminate the requirement to see a physician for a prescription.
Dickerson says selling over-the-counter contraceptives would lower a major barrier many women — particularly low-income women — face to getting birth control.
“About half the pregnancies in the United States are either unplanned or mistimed,” Dickerson says. “By making the Pill available, we can decrease the physical risk to women. We can decrease the financial burden. And we can decrease the stress.”
Dickerson is a physician, and he says the medical literature shows oral contraception is no riskier than pregnancy itself. He argues pharmacists can warn women of those risks, like an increased chance of blood clots, just as effectively as a doctor could.
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