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Legislation that would increase access to contraception throughout New York State was recently passed by the State Assembly.
The Birth Control Access Act, which was sponsored by Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (D/Scarsdale) and still must be approved by the Senate to become law, would allow pharmacists to dispense self-administered hormonal contraceptives if given a non-patient specific order from a licensed physician, certified nurse practitioner, or the New York State Commissioner of Health.
“Allowing pharmacists to consult with patients, provide a prescription, and dispense birth control would expand access for all New Yorkers – especially women with busy work and school schedules, or who have less money for doctor’s appointments, or live in rural communities with limited transportation,” Paulin said.
Under the bill, a pharmacist must at least annually provide a patient with a self-screening risk assessment questionnaire developed by the commissioner of health in consultation with the commissioner of education prior to dispensing. The pharmacist would also be required to provide the patient with a fact sheet developed by the commissioner of health with information such as clinical considerations and recommendations for contraceptive use, information on the importance of follow-up health care and health care referral information.
“New York will always fight for women’s access to reproductive health care and the resources women need to make their own choices about family planning,” Paulin said. “This legislation will help reduce contraceptive deserts that exist in parts of the state by ensuring that there are increased safe and easy ways to access the contraceptives that women need.”
Paulin, who is chair of the Assembly’s Health Committee, was applauded for her initiative by the NY Birth Control Access Project and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) District II.
“Passage of the Birth Control Access Act will improve access and result in tangible benefits to New Yorkers seeking birth control and will expand the number of contraceptive providers in our state. Making the pharmacy a one-stop-shop for birth control will break down barriers preventing New Yorkers from getting this essential health care,” said Jenna Bimbi, Executive Director, NY Birth Control Access Project.
“There is robust scientific evidence detailing the safety and efficacy of hormonal contraception and ACOG ultimately supports over-the-counter access to hormonal contraception,” said Christa Christakis, Executive Director, ACOG District II.
Paulin has served the 88th New York State Assembly District, which includes parts of White Plains, since 2001.
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