The California Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved a bill that would allow any woman to obtain the "morning-after" contraceptive pill without first seeing a doctor. If used within 72 hours of intercourse, the pills can prevent pregnancy.
The bill, introduced by Sen. Dede Alpert (D-Coronado), would broaden access to the contraceptives.
Public-health activists earlier this year launched a pilot program that allows a limited number of women to obtain the pills from specific drugstores without a prescription. The activists said they relied on a 1999 law that allows pharmacies to dispense medications under "collaborative agreements" with physicians.