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Oregon greenlights pharmacist-prescribed birth control

By Marilyn Malara   |   Jan. 2, 2016 at 10:24 AM

SALEM, Ore., Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Pharmacists in Oregon are now permitted to prescribe birth control pills to qualifying women as part of a wave of new state laws for 2016.

Oregon is the first U.S. state to put such a law into effect, with California reportedly looking to follow suit.

A doctor's approval is no longer needed for a supply of pills, although experts urge women not to overlook preventative health care in the form of doctor visits.

"Just having birth control accessible through a pharmacist doesn't mean preventative health care isn't important," Dr. Alison Edelman, a supporter of the new law, told outlet KOIN.

At the pharmacy, women over age 18 will still be required to fill out a health questionnaire trained pharmacists will use to determine whether to write a prescription. Pharmacists are reportedly still free to refuse prescriptions for religious reasons, but must refer a customer somewhere else.

Pharmacists must attend a mandatory training session before being permitted to prescribe birth control to patients.

Regular visits to an OB-GYN are still recommended for women in light of the new law, which some worry will thwart younger citizens from check-ups. According to the CDC, cervical cancer is the easiest cancer of the reproductive system that can be prevented by consistent doctor visits.

Other new laws in the state for the beginning of the new year include automated voter registrations, paid sick days for employees and a wording change on state marriage licenses and other documents from "husband and wife" to "spouses in legal marriage." About 300 approved bills in the state went into effect Jan. 1, Oregon Live reported.

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