Ore. House, Senate Advance Measures To Improve Birth Control Access

May 29, 2015 — An Oregon House committee on Wednesday voted 7-0 to advance legislation (HB 2879-7) that would permit women to obtain contraception without a prescription from a physician, AP/KOIN News reports.

The measure now heads to the full state House. If enacted, the measure would make Oregon the second state, joining California, where women can access contraception without a physician's prescription, according to AP/KOIN News.

Legislation Details

The measure would authorize pharmacists to prescribe and dispense birth control to a woman directly (AP/KOIN News, 5/27).

State Rep. Knute Buehler (R), who introduced the provision, previously proposed it as an amendment (HB 2028-5) to a bill (HB 2028) that addressed pharmacists' scope of practice. However, the proposal was rejected, and the measure was assigned to a workgroup. The amendment is now part of a different bill (HB 2879) (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/21).

Senate Committee Advances Contraception Supply Bill

In related news, the Oregon Senate Committee on Health Care on Wednesday unanimously approved a measure (HB 3343) that requires private insurers to cover one year's worth of birth control at a time, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports.

According to the AP/Bee, women currently can obtain contraception in 30-day and 90-day batches.

Supporters have said dispensing a 12-month supply of birth control could help ensure effective contraceptive use and help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies. However, some have raised concerns that requiring insurers to cover a year's supply could increase costs, particularly for employers who offer health coverage (AP/Sacramento Bee, 5/27).