Nevada Senate Passes Proposal to Expand Access to Birth Control


CARSON CITY – The Nevada State Senate voted unanimously on Monday in favor of a proposal to allow pharmacists to provide patients with birth control without permission from a doctor or provider health care center with a traditional prescription booklet.

Senate Bill 190 proposes to expand the scope of services pharmacists can provide to ensure that people who cannot access doctor’s appointments due to cost or the shortage of doctors State can obtain hormonal contraceptives, including pills, patches or rings directly from a pharmacy.

It is expected to pass the Democratic-controlled Assembly and be signed by Governor Steve Sisolak before it becomes law.

Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro, the Las Vegas Democrat sponsoring the bill, said the vast majority of sexually active women at some point in their lives had used birth control and called the policy “Essential element of women’s access to health care”.

“Often some of the biggest hurdles are just being able to get a doctor’s appointment and get a prescription,” she said Monday.

According to the proposal, patients should always see a doctor for birth control injections like Depo-Provera or intrauterine devices. It would encourage pharmacists to offer patients a risk assessment questionnaire and information on treatments to avoid complications and make sure they feel safe with the contraception prescribed by the pharmacist.

State Senator Joe Hardy, a Republican doctor from Boulder City, said the arrangements made him confident women could make informed decisions about birth control in their pharmacies.

In 12 states and Washington, DC, lawmakers have passed new laws to allow pharmacists to provide hormonal contraceptives.

In Nevada, where women are in the majority in both the Senate and the Assembly, supporters said a shortage of doctors and a high rate of unintended pregnancies necessitated legislation to expand access to contraception. . In 2018, a study by the American Association of Medical Colleges found Nevada ranked 48th in the country for primary care physicians per resident.

Groups concerned about patients bypassing doctors, including the American Medical Association and the United States Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, have opposed similar legislation in other states in recent years, arguing that In-depth knowledge of physicians is necessary to ensure safe prescribing.

But the proposal was little pushed back in Nevada. In its first two committee hearings, no interest group testified against it. Lawmakers have only received one letter of objection from the Nevada Osteopathic Medical Association, which has successfully advocated for mandatory, rather than simply offering, risk assessment.


Sam Metz is a member of the Associated Press / Report for America Statehouse News Initiative corps. Report for America is a national, nonprofit service program that places reporters in local newsrooms to report on secret issues.

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