A new law passed on the first of January provides easier access to birth control in Illinois, with women able to quickly complete screenings from new trained pharmacists and walk out with self-administered contraception the same day.
The law provides for birth control pills, vaginal rings, and skin patches, which were previously available only with a prescription from a physician.
The purpose behind the legislation is to cut back on unplanned pregnancies, which one state newspaper claims is 31% of all pregnancies in the state, but also to give women cheaper methods to prevent a myriad of health complications, of everything from greater-than-normal menstrual pain to osteoporosis and ovarian cancer.
“There are a lot of things that pharmacists are capable of doing that we’re not allowed to do,” Audrey Butler, a pharmacist at Alwan Pharmacy, tells Chicago Magazine. “Pharmacists have specialized training in all drugs, we’re drug experts, but we’re not seen as providers.”
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As with reduced presence of proper grocery stores leading to some disadvantaged communities living in food deserts, those far from the necessary physicians can live in contraceptive deserts, whereas pharmacies are much more commonplace.
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The new legislation certainly makes Illinois one of the most liberal states in terms of access to birth control, as not only can one now receive a health screening in a private room at a pharmacy, but there’s no age restrictions on its access.
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