Illinois legalizes over-the-counter birth control sales

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTWO/WAWV) — Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed a new law, HB 0134, into action Thursday, making it legal for birth control to be sold over-the-counter within the state.

The law makes Illinois the second state in the Midwest to allow hormonal contraception to be sold legally in pharmacies without a prescription, granting Illinois residents access to birth control sold over-the-counter. Pritzker said this will eliminate barriers such as lack of access to physicians willing to prescribe birth control.

Additionally, HB 0135 expands Medicaid to cover over-the-counter birth control costs for plans currently covering physician-prescribed contraception. Under the new law, all Illinois pharmacists must receive training on how to advise residents on different birth control options and costs.

“This legislation that I’m signing into law today makes Illinois one of the first states in the Midwest to provide birth control over-the-counter, making contraceptives all the more accessible and affordable in our state,” Pritzker said. “In 2019, when I signed the Reproductive Health Act into law, I said that in Illinois we guarantee as a fundamental right, a woman’s right to choose. Today, we take yet another stand to fulfill that promise.”

Many elected officials and health professionals joined Pritzker for the law’s signing, showing their support for HB 0135.

“It’s simple: Birth control saves lives and prevents unplanned pregnancy. Family planning and reproductive health care is a personal choice that should not be limited by economic or social status,” Illinois Senator Melinda Bush said. “I thank my colleagues and Governor Pritzker for taking strides toward creating a more equitable health care system through providing greater access to contraceptives.”

To prevent contraception prices from inflating, the law mandates insurance policies be regulated by the Illinois government to cover birth control dispensed by a pharmacist.

“At a time when access to reproductive health care is being denied in many states across the country and debated before the Supreme Court, and when access to this much-needed health care is limited by expanding hospital conglomerates that deny basic care for women, we applaud Illinois policy makers for making contraceptives available at the community level, in a pharmacy,” Khadine Bennett, Advocacy and Intergovernmental Affairs Director for ACLU Illinois, said.

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