California is now the second state behind Oregon to allow women of any age the opportunity to purchase birth control from local pharmacies without a doctor’s prescription.
The birth control pharmacies will carry pills, Depo-Provera injections, vaginal rings and transdermal patches.
Implants and intrauterine devices (IUDs) still require a visit to the doctor.
Critics can argue that allowing women of any age to purchase birth control can be seen as promoting teenagers to start having sex, but not everyone agrees.
“I think some would think that but I don’t think so. It’s not promoting it because there are procedures before they can purchase it,” said student Ezrae Llanes.
Before women can buy birth control at a pharmacy a health questionnaire will need to be filled out. A woman’s blood must also be checked by the pharmacist.
Pharmacies may charge for these screenings as well.
“America is the country with the biggest unplanned pregnancies,” said student Robert Linson.
By making birth control more accessible, the state wants to see a decrease in unplanned pregnancies.
The new law was passed by the California legislature in 2013 but the option to purchase birth control without a doctor’s prescription was not put into effect until April 18.
“It’s a good idea especially for the young girls to get on birth control,” said Dominica Martin, a 20 year old woman from Stockton.
According to the California Department of Public Health, teen pregnancy has seen a decrease in numbers and is at a number of 28.0 births per every 1,000 teens ages ranging from 15 to 19 as of 2013.
Critics say there’s more to it than just allowing easy access to contraceptives.
“It’s just a Band-Aid cure for a deeply entrenched problem. Instead of finding and solving the root cause, they’re simply generating ways to alleviate the current situation. It’s a little haphazard considering the different effects a certain birth control can have on different people. It’s always better to know beforehand what you’re taking into your body. But not everyone can afford a consultation. So lawmakers attempt to remedy this by simply making birth control more available instead of 1) better health insurance for all, 2) raising wages for all, and 3) better sex education,” said Llanes in an e-mail interview.
It is unknown whether or not other states will follow but should this become a nationwide thing?
“That would be helpful if it was universal especially for women who don’t have healthcare,” said student Monique Tong, a Sacramento State student.