DES MOINES — A three-member Senate panel has unanimously advanced Governor Kim Reynolds’ proposal that would expand access to birth control in Iowa.

The bill would let Iowa women get birth control pills and some other forms of contraception directly from a pharmacist. Patients would still have to go through a health screening and might be referred to a doctor. Jodi Tomlonovic, director of the Family Planning Council of Iowa, testified at the senate subcommittee hearing yesterday.

“We think this is a good step forward and adds to our ability of women, in particularly in the more rural parts of the state, to access birth control,” she said.

Kathryn Kueter of Concerned Women For America said a woman’s health could be harmed if she takes the wrong dosage of birth control.

“We’re also concerned about the lack of accountability this bill provides since there’s no liability for the pharmacist,” she said. “And we think there needs to be some accountability on those fronts.”

Mariannette Miller-Meeks

Senator Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Ottumwa, the Republican in charge of guiding the bill through the senate, said she wouldn’t be supporting it if she thought it would endanger women’s health. Miller-Meeks is the former director of the Iowa Department of Public Health.

A three-member House subcommittee is scheduled to consider a similar proposal tomorrow.

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