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Illinois to provide birth control over the counter

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Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker on Thursday signed legislation that allows birth control to be sold over the counter.

The legislation, HB 0135, also expands Medicaid to cover over the counter birth control costs for plans that currently cover physician prescribed birth control. Under the new law, pharmacists are required to receive training on how to counsel individuals on the variety of birth control options available to them.

The signing was at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) College of Pharmacy.
 
“This legislation that I’m signing into law today makes Illinois one of the first states in the Midwest to provide birth control over the counter, making contraceptives all the more accessible and affordable in our state,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “In 2019, when I signed the Reproductive Health Act into law, I said that in Illinois we guarantee as a fundamental right, a woman’s right to choose. Today, we take yet another stand to fulfill that promise.”

Illinois is the second state in the Midwest to offer access to birth control over the counter.

“At a time when access to reproductive health care is being denied in many states across the country and debated before the Supreme Court, and when access to this much-needed health care is limited by expanding hospital conglomerates that deny basic care for women, we applaud Illinois policy makers for making contraceptives available at the community level, in a pharmacy,” said Khadine Bennett, Advocacy and Intergovernmental Affairs Director for the ACLU of Illinois.
 
“Pharmacists are the most accessible healthcare providers that receive the most extensive training in proper use of medications; it makes sense to fully utilize pharmacists to expand access to ensure women are empowered in having access to effective, preventative options for contraception,” said Garth Reynolds, executive director of the Illinois Pharmacists Association.
 
“Contraceptive access through pharmacists is key to allowing women to safely exercise authority over their reproductive lives, and by joining 16 other states in this initiative, we move one step closer to the goal of true over the counter contraception,” said Dr. Michelle Brown, OB-GYN, Northwestern University

HB 0135 is effective January 1, 2022. Provisions effecting the Insurance Code are effective January 1, 2023.

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