Family planning just got a lot easier for 2.5 million women.
This week, women in Colorado achieved a major victory in the fight for contraceptive accessibility. Thanks to a new law introduced earlier this year, women who live in the Centennial State can now buy birth control right from the pharmacy, without having to see a doctor first.
Local news outlets report that all of Colorado’s Albertson’s-Safeway pharmacies are now equipped to sell pills and patches to female residents over the age of 18.
Colorado’s the third state to pass legislation like this: California and Oregon already have it.
For Colorado women, the freedom to bypass a trip to the doctor could have positive outcomes: the state’s Department of Public Health and Environment notes that right now, nearly half of all pregnancies in Colorado are unplanned. Lawmakers and residents alike hope the new laws will make contraceptives more readily available to women living in rural areas, or to those who might be too busy or poor to be able to squeeze in a doctor’s appointment.
This is not the state’s first initiative aimed at curbing unwanted pregnancies. It previously offered teens and low-income women free IUDs and between 2009 and 2013 saw birthrates and unplanned pregnancies drop by 40% and 42% respectively.
In order to buy contraceptives, Colorado women are required to fill out a questionnaire, have their blood pressure checked and undergo a consultation with a pharmacist. Safeway charges $45 per consultation and the chain estimates that the entire process lasts approximately 20–25 minutes, a much shorter period of time than it takes to visit both a doctor’s office and a pharmacy.
Unsurprisingly, women across the state are jazzed about the new developments. And why not? Between legalized weed and accessible birth control, Colorado is living up to its reputation as a bastion of good decision making.