Rep. Melanie Stambaugh introduces bill allowing pharmacists to prescribe contraceptives
Rep. Melanie Stambaugh has introduced legislation that would allow women older than 18 years to obtain birth control directly from a pharmacist. Stambaugh's House Bill 2681 would make Washington the third state in the nation to pass such a law, joining California and Oregon.
“Under current law, most women are required to get a prescription from their primary care physician to obtain access to contraceptives,” said Stambaugh, R-Puyallup. “That can be a long, arduous and expensive process. Removing the unnecessary barriers women currently face in order to increase access to effective contraceptives would be a positive development for women's health in Washington state.”
Under Stambaugh's bill, pharmacists would be required to complete a training program in order to prescribe contraceptives. They would also be required to notify a patient's primary care physician about the prescription. Women receiving the prescription directly from the pharmacist would be required to complete a self-screening risk assessment questionnaire about their medical history.
There is bipartisan support for Stambaugh's legislation, with six Republicans and three Democrats signed on as co-sponsors. Rep. Matt Manweller, R-Ellensburg, says Stambaugh's bill will increase access to birth control and reduce costs for women.
“This bill will make it easier and less expensive for women to obtain safe and effective birth control,” said Manweller. “Forcing busy women to schedule unneeded and expensive doctor visits for prescriptions they already have is simply burdensome.”
Rep. Shelly Short, R-Addy, is also a co-sponsor of the bill.
“We have many low-income women and those living in rural areas who would benefit tremendously from this bill,” said Short. “My district continually has some of the lowest employment and median wage numbers, so access and cost can be challenging. The ability to obtain birth control from the local pharmacy would definitely ease the burden for many around the state.”
House Bill 2681 awaits a hearing in the House Health Care and Wellness Committee.
###Washington State House Republican Communications