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Whitmer: Directive will make it easier for women to get birth control

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A state policy will make it easier for women to access many common types of birth control without a visit to the doctor’s office.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the policy Monday during a visit to Flint.

The policy covers hormonal contraceptives such as the pill, the patch and the ring.

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs issued an interpretative policy statement at Whitmer’s behest. She says the policy will allow doctors and pharmacists to partner to prescribe birth control without requiring an office visit in most cases.

“This is one more tool that women need to have so that they can make their own decisions around their bodies,” she said in an interview with Michigan Public Radio. “Some do this, but the vast majority do not, and so that’s why it was important to say, this is legal. We want to facilitate this and make it easier for women to access reproductive health care and that includes birth control.”

Whitmer says easy access to birth control has become more critical since Roe v. Wade was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, removing federal protections for abortion rights.

Abortion remains legal in Michigan under a court order that put a hold on enforcing a 1931 law that would otherwise threaten abortion providers with prosecution. It’s not clear how widely that law might be applied if the injunction lifted.