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Phoenix's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Phoenix, Arizona | 12NEWS.com

New Arizona bill allows women to get birth control without a doctor visit

A similar law is already in place in California. Their screening process is like a questionnaire asking about health history.

ARIZONA, USA — Birth control pills, rings and patches - right at your fingertips.

"We want to reduce barriers and increase access and that’s what this bill really does," explains Dr. Julie Kwatra, with Arizona Women's Care in Scottsdale.

She's talking about Senate Bill 1493, which would allow women 18 and older to access certain kinds of birth control without seeing a doctor or having a prescription.  

She notes, this isn't exactly over the counter.  It's what they call behind the counter, which means there would be a self-screening process at the pharmacy before anyone buys anything.

A similar law is already in place in California.  Their screening process is like a questionnaire asking about health history, including blood clots, blood pressure and other risks associated with birth control.

Depending on answers, the pharmacist could provide more information or explain why a woman might want to opt for a different method.

"Like all medications, hormonal contraceptives do come with some risks," Dr. Kwatra explains. "They’re very low.  The risk of getting a blood clot in your leg or in your lung is less than 1%."

That's what Dr. Kwatra has been telling lawmakers.  The bill unanimously passed through the Senate's Health and Human Services committee this week.  It will need to pass the full Senate and the House before it becomes a law.

"This is not a substitute for seeing a doctor," Dr. Kwatra says.  "We still recommend that patients see their physicians on a regular basis."