Well, here’s a rare bright spot in the current too-scary world of birth control and women’s reproductive choices. While many other states are in the midst of restricting access, or passing laws that will allow their pharmacists to refuse to fill birth control prescriptions, New York State has done what I consider to be a very Good Thing, and passed legislation which gives pharmacists and nurses the right to dispense the Morning After Pill to any woman who needs it, using an open prescription written by a doctor. How it works is that a doctor or nurse practitioner (or midwife? I will need to check to see if midwives are among the practioners that are allowed to write these kinds of prescriptions) writes an open (or blanket) prescription for the Morning After Pill with no specific recipient named. The pharamacy or clinic then keeps the prescription on hand, and can use it to dispense the Morning After Pill to any woman who comes to that pharmacy or clinic and needs it. Which is just about as good as having the pill sold over the counter, and probably about as close to that as we can come in this country. The reason this is such a good idea is that the Morning After Pill has a crucial 72 hour deadline, and open prescriptions like this will allow women to obtain the pill when they need it, on weekends or off hours or vacations when it might otherwise be hard to schedule an appointment with their doctor for a prescription. Of course, that’s assuming that Governor Pataki actually chooses to sign this bill into law. Let’s hope that he does.
You can read more about it in a NY Times article here.