The Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe V. Wade has brought up many questions and concerns regarding ones right to choose. Access to abortion and contraceptives are now being reevaluated by many states. Although Connecticut was one of the states that expanded access of reproductive rights after the court’s decision, it does not mean the fight is over.
In Connecticut the proposed bill of SB 171 could be a monumental step in the right direction for reproductive healthcare. SB 171 is a bill that would allow a pharmacist prescribe birth control.
This bill is addressing the overall community and public health need for easier access to birth control, as many are not able to receive it due to many restrictions. There are many barriers that stand in front of one from receiving birth control. These barriers or restrictions can be anywhere from family views, to insurance or lack thereof, COVID-19, lack of education, and lack of overall accessibility.
For many, especially those who are immunocompromised, COVID-19 is still very real. Many still do not feel comfortable or safe going to their doctors, or anywhere in public. There is also a lack of education through public and private schools for younger children regarding sex education. When there is no clear sex education or none at all, many girls and women may not even think to go on a form of birth control. This may also be hand in hand with family views.
When talking to fellow students at Sacred Heart University, every student agreed that if this bill were to pass, they would take advantage of it. One student said: “I come from a very conservative traditional family, and I am not on birth control. If a pharmacist was able to prescribe birth control, I would be on my way to the pharmacy immediately.”
The impact of this bill would allow many adolescents and college students who are still under their parents’ insurance the opportunity to still have the right to choose. Even if one does not need to worry about their insurance, it would still create more access and opportunity away from their main health provider.
In order for this bill to work to its fullest potential, pharmacists would have to undergo further educational training in emergency and hormonal contraceptives. Pharmacists would learn about the concerns when prescribing, how to address appropriate patient medical screening contraindications, and become accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education.
One is able to see the immense benefits of this bill in other states across the country. CVS has pharmacists prescribing contraceptives in states such as Idaho, Washington, Hawaii, Michigan, Wisconsin, and many more. It is seen through the Center for American Progress that there is a significant increase in the reduction of unintended pregnancies, decreased spending, decreased strain on health systems, and improvement in overall access to contraceptive healthcare access.
Cate DiRamio is a student at Sacred Heart University.