It’s Now Easier to Pick Up Birth Control Pills in NC

Starting Tuesday, North Carolinians can get hormonal birth control pills and patches from a pharmacist.

By Michael McElroy

January 31, 2022

You can go to pharmacies in North Carolina to get birth control without a doctor’s prescription.

North Carolinians no longer need a doctor’s note to get birth control pills.

Starting Tuesday, people can now get commonly-used birth control pills and patches directly from their pharmacist without a prescription.

The measure is part of a bipartisan bill passed last year in the North Carolina legislature that gives pharmacists far more leeway to administer vaccines and provide other urgent but straightforward medications without a prescription. 

Emergency contraception, known as morning after pills or Plan B pills, are already available over the counter at pharmacies. 

Why It Matters:

Nearly half of pregnancies in the state, (and 70% of teenage pregnancies), were unintended, according to a 2009 survey by the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, or PRAMS.

The survey also showed that women younger than 20, Black women, and women without high school educations are often more likely to report an unintended pregnancy.

Access to healthcare and quality insurance have long been barriers for many, and the bill sought to increase access by removing the requirement for a prescription. 

What to Do:

Just call your pharmacist for help. There will be some forms to fill out, but the steps are now far easier.


  • Michael McElroy

    Michael McElroy is Cardinal & Pine's political correspondent. He is an adjunct instructor at UNC-Chapel Hill's Hussman School of Journalism and Media, and a former editor at The New York Times.

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