Illinois lawmakers are pushing to expand access to birth control by allowing pharmacists to fill orders without consulting a doctor.
The measure would allow pharmacists to dispense hormonal birth control after undergoing training. Advocates say this will remove the extra step of making doctor appointments just to refill a prescription.
State Rep. Litesa Wallace (D-Rockford) says 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,” Wallace said.
But state Rep. Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) says this is an issue only a doctor should handle.
“I would like to express that this actually risks a patient’s safety,” Bryant said. “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.”
Advocates say gynecologists and other medical doctors were involved in drafting the legislation. They say pharmacists can already give out other medications — like vaccines — without a doctor’s oversight.
House members may consider the plan over the next few weeks.