A university study will offer birth control to women in Seattle without a doctor’s prescription. Penny Dickey, Vice President of health services and education at Planned parenthood of Greater Iowa, says it’s always been assumed a woman couldn’t get “the Pill” without a doctor’s visit and exam first. She says Planned Parenthood supports the idea of what’s now “prescriptive” birth-control being available over-the-counter, adding that it’s better to be on birth control than risk unintended and unwanted pregnancy, for both a woman’s physical and emotional health. While medical organizations agree there’s no need for a physical exam, up to now doctors have made it a prerequisite to get birth-control pills, or the new “patch.” She says there’s no law requiring it, and labeling’s even changed on oral contraceptives, to say instead of required, it’s recommended you get a pap test. Dickey says Planned Parenthood actually has a program in place to give women the pill without requiring a complete exam. They complete a “targeted” medical history, give the woman information about the importance of a physical exam, and then as long as no risk factors preclude it, provide the woman a prescription for a year’s worth of birth control. Dickey says this year about one-thousand women in Iowa will take advantage of the program. She says they’d rather do the annual assessment and provide women birth control, than never have them come in. Once a medical caregiver relationship’s been established, she says often women decide they’ll have a complete doctor’s exam after all, something recommended on a regular basis whether they’re on the pill or not.
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