Study Allows Women to Get Birth-Control Pills

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A new approach to obtaining birth control is being tested in Seattle. Women taking part in a University of Washington study need only go to a designated pharmacy and answer 23 questions and then they can walk away with contraceptives without a prescription.

It's believed to be the first effort in the nation to get hormonal contraception without a prescription. Project organizers want to measure the comfort level for women and pharmacists in the delivery of birth control pills, patches and other devices.

The project has been embraced by family planning and population control experts. Women are still encouraged to get annual checkups to guard against sexually transmitted diseases and other gynecological problems, but most medical organizations agree it is not necessary to have a pelvic exam to get birth control pills.