CHICAGO, Ill. (WAND) — Governor JB Pritzker signs HB 0135 into law granting Illinoisans access to birth control over the counter. 

Pritzker was joined by healthcare providers and legislative leaders at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) College of Pharmacy on Thursday to finalize the bill. 

The new legislation will remove barriers that previously prevented residents from accessing hormonal contraception, including lack of access to a physician willing to prescribe birth control. 

HB 0135 will also expand Medicaid to cover over-the-counter birth control costs for plans currently covering physician-prescribed birth control. 

Under the new law, pharmacists will be required to receive training on how to counsel individuals on the variety of birth control options available.

“This legislation that I’m signing into law today makes Illinois one of the first states in the Midwest to provide birth control over the counter, making contraceptives all the more accessible and affordable in our state,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “In 2019, when I signed the Reproductive Health Act into law, I said that in Illinois, we guarantee as a fundamental right, a woman’s right to choose. Today, we take yet another stand to fulfill that promise.”

Illinois is the second State in the Midwest to offer access to birth control over the counter.

“It’s simple: Birth control saves lives and prevents unplanned pregnancy. Family planning and reproductive health care is a personal choice that should not be limited by economic or social status,” said Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake). “I thank my colleagues and Governor Pritzker for taking strides toward creating a more equitable health care system through providing greater access to contraceptives.”

Ensuring that the price of contraception remains feasible, HB 0135 includes mandates for insurance policies regulated by the State to cover birth control that a pharmacist dispenses.

“Pharmacists are the most accessible healthcare providers that receive the most extensive training in proper use of medications; it makes sense to fully utilize pharmacists to expand access to ensure women are empowered in having access to effective, preventative options for contraception,” said Garth Reynolds, Executive Director of the Illinois Pharmacists Association.

“HB135 is a landmark piece of legislation in our State. By increasing access to contraception for the women of Illinois, we reinforce our State as one that prioritizes women’s health,” said Dr. Michelle Brown, OB-GYN, Northwestern University. “Contraceptive access through pharmacists is key to allowing women to safely exercise authority over their reproductive lives, and by joining 16 other states in this initiative, we move one step closer to the goal of true over-the-counter contraception.”

HB 0135 is effective January 1, 2022. Provisions affecting the Insurance Code are effective January 1, 2023.

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