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Pharmacists Will Be Able To Prescribe Hormonal Birth Control

 Sen. Melinda Bush
Sen. Melinda Bush

Governor J.B. Pritzker signed legislation Thursday that will allow pharmacists in the state to dole out hormonal birth control, including the pill.

The new law, which takes effect in January, requires pharmacists to get education that will include how to counsel patients and an assessment for screening.

State Senator Melinda Bush, a Grayslake Democrat, sponsored the measure.

“We believe that family planning and reproductive health care are personal choices that should never be limited by economic or social status,” she said.

Insurance plans, including Medicaid, that will pay for doctor-prescribed birth control, must also cover pharmacist-direct means after January First, 2023.

Illinois will be the 16th state in the nation allow pharmacists with extra training to hand out hormonal birth control – even if the patient hasn’t first seen a health care practitioner. The measure takes effect January First. Governor JB Pritzker signed the measure Thursday.

Doctor Michelle Brown represents the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. She said barriers to getting a new prescription or refill include lack of insurance or an established doctor, and difficulty obtaining appointments or finding reliable transportation. “By making contraception more accessible through the local pharmacies without the need for an appointment or prescription we break down those barriers to help women access the medications they need to help them control their reproductive future.”

The measure was backed by the state pharmacists’ association.
Copyright 2021 NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS. To see more, visit NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS.

Maureen Foertsch McKinney is the NPR Illinois News Editor and a lead editor of Illinois Issues' feature articles, working with freelance writers, and is curator of the Equity blog. Maureen joined the staff in 1998 as projects editor. Previously, she worked at three Illinois daily newspapers, most recently the suburban Chicago-based Daily Herald, where she served stints as an education reporter and copy editor. She graduated in 1985 with a bachelor's in journalism. She also has a master's degree in English from the University of Illinois at Springfield.