TRENTON – Gov. Phil Murphy today announced that qualified pharmacists are authorized to furnish self-administered hormonal contraceptives to patients without a prescription. The measure implements legislation Murphy signed last year to remove the prescription requirement for self-administered hormonal contraceptives.

That legislation was enacted on the first anniversary of the historic Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act, which codified the constitutional right to freedom of reproductive choice in New Jersey.

“In New Jersey, we will continue to protect a woman’s right to plan her future on her own terms,” Murphy said in a statement. “Today marks an important step forward in our efforts to expand access to reproductive health care as we make birth control more accessible across the state. As we witness an attack on reproductive freedom across the country, New Jersey will continue to be a safe haven for women to access the care they need.”

Until today, individuals in New Jersey have typically been unable to access self-administered hormonal contraceptives, including injectable contraceptives, pills, patches, and rings, without first obtaining a prescription from a licensed health care provider. New rules adopted today by the State Board of Medical Examiners and the Board of Pharmacy authorize qualified pharmacists to furnish these products without a prescription, in accordance with standardized procedures and protocols.

“At a time of unprecedented attacks on reproductive freedom in America, New Jersey, under the leadership of Gov. Murphy, remains a staunch defender of the fundamental right to reproductive autonomy,” Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin said. “Today we take another important step to reduce barriers to reproductive care so that all New Jersey residents, and those who visit our state, have access to hormonal contraceptives — essential components of reproductive health care.”

“For decades, hormonal contraceptives have empowered women with the ability to make decisions about their own reproductive health. In New Jersey, this expansion of vital reproductive health services and the availability of hormonal birth control without a prescription provides broader, more equitable access while putting in place the necessary safeguards that protect patient health, safety, and privacy,” Health Commissioner Dr. Kaitlan Baston said.

According to the new rules, pharmacists must complete four hours of training on patient screening, the selection of a self-administered hormonal contraceptive, and patient counseling.

When an individual requests that a pharmacist furnish a self-administered hormonal contraceptive, the pharmacist must first determine if the patient is eligible to receive it by following a process that includes completing a health screening questionnaire prepared by DOH. If a patient is eligible to receive a self-administered hormonal contraceptive, the pharmacist may furnish an initial supply of up to three months, with refills for up to nine additional months.

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Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.