There is bipartisan interest this year in expanding the availability of birth control and contraception in Connecticut with policymakers from both parties proposing legislation to allow pharmacists to prescribe products that had previously required a doctor’s note.
“Love is in the air this week as we approach Valentine’s Day,” Sen. Heather Somers, R-Groton, said in a Monday press release. “It’s past time to eliminate the stigma around contraceptives, especially for women, and normalize easy, affordable access to hormonal birth control.”
Somers and Sen. Ryan Fazio, R-Greenwich, held an afternoon press conference at a Groton CVS on Monday in an effort to publicize their co-sponsored bill to allow pharmacists to prescribe birth control medication.
The two Republicans are not alone in making the proposal. Gov. Ned Lamont pitched the same idea last month during a press conference marking the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, 1973 court decision, which had previously made abortion legal nationwide until the U.S. Supreme Court reversed it last year.
“Make it a little easier for people to get access to contraceptive care, the full range of reproductive care, starting with the fact that you can get contraception prescribed by a pharmacist, not necessarily having to go to a doctor’s office,” Lamont said last month.
Since then, the governor’s administration has included the policy in a wide-ranging bill of proposals from the state Department of Consumer Protection, which oversees licensing for Connecticut pharmacies. Under the bill, pharmacists would be permitted to prescribe up to a year’s supply of birth control.
The legislation would also allow pharmacists to prescribe emergency contraception, more commonly known as the “morning-after pill.” In both cases, pharmacists would be required to complete a training program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education prior to prescribing the pills.
Expanding access to emergency contraception is another topic of bipartisan interest this session. Rep. Maria Horn, D-Salisbury, has proposed a bill that would allow vending machines to dispense certain over the counter drugs including the morning-after pill.
Meanwhile, Republican Reps. Devin Carney of Old Saybrook, Tammy Nuccio of Tolland, Nicole Klarides-Ditria of Derby, and Tracy Marra of Darien have also proposed legislation to allow emergency contraction vending machines.