Should Tennessee allow birth control over the counter?

Photo: WKRN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Starting Jan. 1, women in Oregon don’t need to get checked out by a doctor before getting their hands on birth control pills.

The state is the first to pass a law allowing pharmacists to give out the contraceptive to women over the age of 18.

MORE: Over-the-counter birth control now available in Oregon

California plans to do something similar in the future, and News 2 was curious what Tennessee lawmakers were thinking.

Photo: WKRN
Photo: WKRN

State Senator Ferrell Haile says he hasn’t heard any conversation about it at the Capitol just yet.

Not only is Haile a lawmaker, he’s also a pharmacist in Sumner County.

“This is not something you walk in and pick up like Tylenol off the shelf,” he said. “This would be pharmacist prescription.”

How does it work? Women fill out a questionnaire and the pharmacist, who completes a special training program, reviews it.

If the pharmacist says the questionnaire looks good, the woman will get the pill.

“I feel comfortable that pharmacists can do this. I don’t have any questions about that,” Sen. Haile told News 2.

But a gynecologist at TriStar Summit Medical Center told News he isn’t so sure this new law is a good idea.

“A board-certified gynecologist will be able to make a better decision about which pill would be better suited for his or her patient than a pharmacist,” said Dr. Kevin Hamilton.

“My concern is that a patient may avoid coming to see a physician and self-medicate and avoid or miss out on some opportunities for health care,” he continued.

According to Leonard Brabson, the chair of the Tennessee section of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, they’re in favor of the new law as long as it’s covered by insurance, but at this point that’s still not clear.

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