House Bill 613 in Maryland and State Bill 233 in Nevada both just became laws and have some really helpful effects for women lucky enough to be in those states.
In Maryland, people can get birth control prescriptions straight from pharmacists.
This is thanks to House Bill 613, which was led by Democrat Shelly Hettleman. It passed in the state House and Senate by a wide margin this spring and became law on May 26 without Governor Larry Hogan's signature (he declined to sign or veto).
Getting birth control prescriptions from pharmacists makes life a lot simpler.
Rather than having to take the time to go to a doctor, get a check-up, get a prescription, take it to the pharmacist, and get it filled, you can just skip right to the pharmacist step.
Kelly Blanchard, president of Ibis Reproductive Health, an international nonprofit that supports women's health, tells Elite Daily the organization thinks this is "extremely safe."
"Pharmacists have more than enough experience and skills to share information for people seeking contraception, to talk about their options, and to provide medication," Blanchard says.
In addition to pharmacists being smart, the birth control pill is itself a pretty safe drug.
"There really are no harmful possible adverse effects, particularly for progestin-only pills," Blanchard says. (In case you forgot, there are two types of birth control pill: progestin-only and combination hormonal.)
The combination hormonal pill, meanwhile, has a "very strong safety record." People who could be at risk for rare side effects include women over 35 and those who smoke.
In Nevada, people will be able to get a full year of birth control packs at one pharmacy visit, and co-pays have been eliminated for contraception.
State Bill 233 was a bipartisan bill that passed in the state Senate and Assembly in May with support from both parties. It was signed by Republican Governor Brian Sandoval last week. The law goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2018.
Again, this bill makes life a lot easier.
Having to go to the pharmacy once a year rather than once a month is an improvement for patients. Instead of having to figure out getting to the pharmacy 12 times a year, you just have to do it once. Going to a pharmacy while it's open can be hard for teenagers and those with less flexible job schedules, as well as those without cars.
Meanwhile, refilling prescriptions is another hassle involving speaking to the pharmacy and potentially the doctor. With this bill, women don't have to worry about taking those extra steps as frequently.
Taking down these barriers has serious results in the effectiveness of the birth control pill as a contraceptive. Getting all 12 packs at once decreases unplanned pregnancies by 30 percent and reduces the odds of abortion by 46 percent, a 2011 study from the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco found.
Meanwhile, not having a co-pay for contraceptives makes them more accessible to more women. This is because you do not have to pay an extra cost, so it's affordable.
All sorts of barriers are coming down in these states to help women be able to have control over their own bodies. What a time!