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Assembly passes bill expanding birth control

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Republican-controlled state Assembly has passed a bill opposed by anti-abortion groups that would provide more access to birth control.

The bill approved Thursday with bipartisan support would allow pharmacists to prescribe hormonal contraceptive patches and birth-control pills to anyone 18 or older. Under current law, only doctors can prescribe them.

Anti-abortion groups are opposed to the measure, arguing that increasing access to birth control encourages premarital sex and the odds of unintended pregnancies and abortions.

Democrats questioned the intention of Republicans, saying they are pushing the proposal to make themselves more electable. Democrats favor a more expansive proposal that had no age limits on who could get the birth control.

It passed on an 82-13 vote.

The bill would also have to pass the Senate and be signed by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers before becoming law.

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