New Jersey could see over-the-counter contraception

    New Jersey could become the first East Coast state to authorize over-the-counter contraception.

    Legislation that would permit pharmacists to dispense hormonal contraceptives, like the pill and vaginal rings, advanced in the state Senate on Monday. Similar legislation is pending in the Assembly.

    It’s coming to the forefront in New Jersey after California and Oregon enacted similar measures last year. Washington state passed similar legislation this year.

    Lawmakers say the legislation is needed to make it easier for women to get birth control without having to make a stop at their doctor’s office, but also to reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies.

    But critics question whether it would accomplish that and say sexually active women should see a doctor to get a birth control prescription.

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