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No Prescription Needed For Birth Control In NYC

HOST INTRO: New Yorkers will no longer need a prescription to obtain a year's supply of hormonal birth control. This change became official on Tuesday when the New York State Department of Health authorized the measure signed by Governor Kathy Hochul. I spoke with Rochelle Rodney,  the director of the New York Birth Control Virtual Access Project who helped make this happen.  I asked her what the rollout means and what people interested in taking advantage of this decision should know? 

Rodney: A patient can now walk in and pick up opal on the shelf and buy it and walk out without having to consult with anyone. 

Macaya: So it's just the O pill that's available without a prescription?  

Rodney: Yes.  

Macaya: Got it. And who can access this?What age groups, what's the age restriction.  

Rodney: There's no age restriction for the O Pill.  

Macaya: Understood. And for parents that might be concerned about not being able to get involved in their daughter's decision to start birth control, what is something that you guys would say to them to maybe relieve some of that anxiety.  

Rodney: So I think that is extremely important for parents to talk to their children about sexual health and to create an environment where they're comfortable coming to them to talk about sexual health related things.  But I think that on top of that it's important to recognize like the stigma that a lot of young people face with accessing contraception. So I think that we should encourage young people to make decisions like that when they feel like they need a preventative method and that parents should support them as well.

Macaya: Right. And I know that the O Pill is one route that women can take, but the ring and also the patch are available. So could you clarify what the pharmacist's role is then?  

Rodney: Because it's a little bit confusing for people, I’ll clarify that with over the counter, the patient can get the old pill and then with pharmacist prescribed, a patient can either get the pill, the patch or the ring from the pharmacist and the governor announced that all pharmacists will be able to prescribe the pill patch or the ring to patients who walk into the pharmacy and consult with them without a prescription. 

Macaya: Right. So consulting the pharmacist is optional, but at women's disposal, if they have any questions or concerns. But what does this mean for the future of women in New York and also the future of contraception? And how has this step changed, the scope of access within the state? 

Rodney: So now I think that is definitely going to alleviate the 1. 2 million women across New York State that do live in contraception deserts. That has been a fact that we've been working to diminish it for over a year now.  

Macaya: What's a contraception desert?  

Rodney: So that is an area where women do not have the full range of contraception available to them. So they might be able to go a couple miles from them and they can pick up like an IUD in the ring, but then they don't have an option to get like the patch or the pills. 

Macaya: And moving forward, what is the mission of New York Birth Control Access Project? 

Rodney: So right now what we're focused on is training the next generation of reproductive justice advocates and helping them to learn about the ways that they can advocate for their reproductive rights across, in New York State. We're continuing to do birth control access and expanding birth control across the state and other ways as well.  

Macaya: Well, Rochelle Rodney, thank you so much for speaking with us today, at Uptown Radio. And I, we really appreciate you taking the time.  

Rodney: Yes, no problem. I'm excited.  

Macaya: Thank you so much.

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