Oregon Senate passes bill expanding birth control access

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SALEM, Ore. — A bill granting pharmacists the power to prescribe hormonal birth control has cleared one of its last legislative hurdles.

Oregon Senate lawmakers on Wednesday approved a measure giving women the ability to skip their doctor’s visit for contraception. Under the bill, they can head straight to a pharmacist for oral contraceptives or hormonal contraceptive patches.

Women will have to complete a risk assessment survey before getting their prescription. Patients under 18 will have to see a doctor first, but they can get refills from their pharmacist.

Some critics have raised concerns contraceptives can have adverse side effects. But advocates say the risks of pregnancy are greater than the risks of taking oral contraceptives.

The bill passed the Senate 24-4 and heads back to the House for concurrence with changes made in the Senate.