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Contraceptives will be available without a prescription in New York following a statewide order

by Assoicated Press
March 23, 2024

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Contraceptives will be available without a prescription in New York under an order signed by state health officials on Tuesday. The move is part of New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s mission to bolster reproductive rights at a time when its restricted in other parts of the country.

The measure comes as the first over-the-counter birth control pill was made available in U.S. stores this month. The Food and Drug Administration said in a landmark decision last July that the once-a-day Opill could be sold on store shelves and without a prescription.

More than 25 states including California and Minnesota already allow pharmacists to provide contraceptive care, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

The order, signed by New York Health Commissioner James McDonald at a pharmacy in Albany, expedited the effective date of a law signed last year that laid out the measure.

“In light of national threats to reproductive freedoms, we simply cannot wait that long,” Hochul wrote in a memo when she had signed the bill into law. It was supposed to go into effect in November.

People could tap into the service as soon as the next several weeks, according to Hochul’s office.

In New York, trained pharmacists will be able to hand out self-administered hormonal contraceptives including oral birth control pills, vaginal rings, and the patch, even if the patients don’t have prescriptions.

Pharmacists who want to participate need to complete training developed by the state Education Department before they can dispense up to a 12-month supply of a contraceptive of the individual’s preference.

Patients must fill out a self-screening form to help pharmacists identify the appropriate contraceptive as well as potential risks associated with the medication. Pharmacists will also be required to notify the patient’s primary health care practitioner within 72 hours of dispensing the medication.

Opill will still be available on store shelves and can be purchased by American women and teens just as easily as they buy Ibuprofen.

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