Missouri Republican proposes birth control from pharmacists - KMOV.com

Missouri Republican proposes birth control from pharmacists

Posted: Updated:
KMOV KMOV

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Republican lawmaker wants to make it easier for Missouri women to get birth control.

Rep. Sheila Solon told a House committee Wednesday decades of use have shown oral contraception is safe and critical for many people and pharmacists should be able to prescribe the drugs after undergoing some training.

The Republican from Blue Springs said her proposal is "the ultimate pro-life bill" because easier access to birth control would lead to fewer unwanted pregnancies and fewer abortions.

Under the measure, pharmacists could prescribe only birth control pills. A woman would be required to visit a doctor within three years of the pharmacist's initial prescription to continue receiving the contraceptives. Those under 18 would have to show pharmacists a previous doctor's prescription.

The bill would allow women to receive birth control in one-year increments after their first three-month prescription.

A pharmacist could still refer someone to a physician if necessary, Solon said. This bill wouldn't affect state laws allowing pharmacists to decline to fill prescriptions they object to, she added.

Oregon, California and Washington, D.C., have passed comparable policies, with at least four other states considering similar bills, said Mara Gandal-Powers, an attorney with the National Women's Law Center.

Although nobody testified against the bill, some lawmakers on the panel said they were concerned about sidelining doctors.

Anne Zerr, a Republican from St. Charles, said she worries pharmacists might not have the training to consider nuances of dosage and drug interaction.

Solon said people had similar concerns when pharmacies began administering immunizations. Just like then, the benefits outweigh the risks, she said, especially considering the hazards of pregnancy or an abortion.

Blood clotting is the primary risk of oral contraceptives, and pharmacists can screen for that by testing patients' blood pressure, said M'Evie Mead, director of statewide organizing for Planned Parenthood Action, which supports the bill.

Solon's bill originally allowed pharmacists to prescribe contraceptive patches, but she said she removed that provision after pro-life groups raised concerns about the safety of that method.

Although the American Academy of Family Physicians supports designating oral contraceptive as an over-the-counter drug, the Missouri Academy of Family Physicians isn't taking a position on the bill, said Pat Strader, a legislative consultant for the group. Pharmacists don't have the training in drug interaction or diseases to make a meaningful contribution to prescription decisions, she said.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists as well as the Teen Pregnancy and Prevention Partnership support the bill.

It wasn't immediately clear when a vote would be scheduled on the measure.

Watch News 4 Now

Mouse over player for controls · LAUNCH FULL PLAYER

Powered by Frankly