Legislation sponsored by Sens. Shirley Turner, D-15th District, and Joseph Vitale, D-19th District, that would allow pharmacists to dispense certain hormonal contraceptives without an individual prescription, cleared the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee on Monday.
“Birth control is a crucial piece of reproductive health care. Roughly half of the pregnancies in New Jersey are unintended and nearly all unintended pregnancies are attributed to women who do not use birth control,” said Turner in a statement. “Making contraceptives available without an individual script will make them more affordable and more accessible to low and moderate income women. This legislation will give women more control over their bodies and the reproductive health, reducing unintended pregnancies and abortions,” Turner said.
Senate Bill 845, would allow pharmacists to dispense certain self-administered hormonal contraceptives, such as birth control pills and vaginal rings, without a prescription. The bill would require the Board of Pharmacy and the State Board of Medical Examiners to issue a standing order authorizing pharmacists to do so.
The bill would also amend various health insurance statutes to clarify that insurers that provide coverage for prescription female contraceptives would be required to cover those furnished pursuant to the standing order.
“It’s documented. The more accessible contraceptives are for men and women, the more effective they are at preventing unintended pregnancy,” said Vitale in a statement. “This is smart legislation that puts us on par with numerous states across the nation and I’m proud that in New Jersey we are trying to make smart health decisions easier, not harder,” said.
The bill was released from committee by a vote of 8-1 and next heads to the Budget and Appropriations Committee for further consideration.