DC Council Member David Catania (I- At Large), chair of the city’s Committee on Health, introduced a bill that would allow women to obtain birth control pills from their pharmacist without first visiting a doctor. If the DC city council votes to pass the bill, the DC Board of Pharmacy and the DC Board of Medicine would work together to develop regulation, which would include age restrictions, regarding the dispensation of birth control pills. The bill would change medical practice, which currently requires that women have a doctor’s prescription in order to obtain the pills.
Catania stated that he hoped to make birth control available to women who could not afford to pay for a doctor’s visit. He told the Washington Post, “At this point, in this city, it’s already a challenge for many women in underserved communities to get the appointments and then find a pharmacy. I think it’s a way to expand access to contraception and to conserve valuable resources.”
The Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington supports Catania’s proposal. Similar programs have been tried but discontinue in Oregon and Washington State.