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Turner, Vitale Bill to Allow Pharmacists to Dispense Birth Control Without Prescription Clears Committee

State House 1

Trenton – Legislation sponsored by Senator Shirley Turner and Senator Joseph Vitale, which would allow pharmacists to dispense certain hormonal contraceptives without an individual prescription, cleared the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee today.

“Birth control is a crucial piece of reproductive healthcare. 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 Senator 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 the reproductive health, reducing unintended pregnancies and abortions.”

The bill, S-845, would allow pharmacists to 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 pregnancy,” said Senator Vitale (D-Middlesex). “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 would also amend various health insurance statutes to clarify that insurers which provide coverage for prescription female contraceptives would be required to cover those furnished pursuant to the standing order.

The bill was released from committee by a vote of 8-1 and next heads to the Budget and Appropriations Committee for further consideration.