Legislation Could Expand Access To Birth Control

Apr 30, 2018

The Illinois General Assembly is considering a proposal to expand birth control access. 

The measure would allow pharmacists to dispense hormonal birth control after undergoing training. Supporters of the plan say this will remove the extra step of making doctor appointments just to refill a prescription.

State Rep. Litesa Wallace, a Rockford Democrat, said women use contraceptives for more than just family planning -- like for medical issues that are easy to address without a doctor’s order. “Some women have debilitation menstrual cramps, where for a young woman, that means missing class time or work time because of the pain associated with her period,” she said during a House debate. 
 
Others are opposed to the idea -- like state Rep. Terri Bryant, a Murphysboro Republican -- who said she worries this will give birth control access to kids as young as 12 without a parent's consent. “I would like to express that this actually risks a patient’s safety. It’s an issue of a young person under the age of 18 being able to go in and get what should be a prescription medication.”

But the sponsor, state Rep. Michelle Mussman, a Schaumburg Democrat, said pharmacists can already dispense other medications, like vaccines, without a doctor's oversight. She said one of the required steps is for a patient to fill out a medical questionnaire and discuss any side-effects with the trained pharmacist. Mussman said gynecologists and other medical doctors were involved in drafting the legislation. 

House members may consider the plan over the next few weeks.