Under a new law, to be introduced in April, Californian women will be able to buy birth control pills without a prescription.
The new law has been designed to ease women's access to birth control which supporters say will reduce unintended pregnancies. According to health department statistics, half of all pregnancies nationwide are not planned.
A similar law has been in place in effort in Washington state for 30 years and has reduced unwanted pregnancies significantly says Don Downing, a professor at the University of Washington School of Pharmacy.
"That's the beauty of it — in that it's a new portal into healthcare delivery, without having to know the entire healthcare system," he says. "Just walk into a pharmacy."
California will become the third state to allow pharmacist-issued birth control. Similar legislation was introduced in Oregon in January and lawmakers in Hawaii approved similar measures the same month, with Alaska and New Mexico considering following suit.
Under the new law in California, pharmacists will be able to dispense self-administered hormonal contraception - patches, pills and vaginal rings.
A CVS spokesman says the chain is waiting to review the final rules before deciding whether to participate.
Ralphs spokeswoman Kendra Doyle says the chain is already training pharmacists.
"We'll certainly be ready to serve the patients once the details get ironed out," said Doyle, who says half of the 203 Ralphs stores in Southern California have pharmacies.
Camille Giglio, head of the anti abortion advocacy group California Right to Life, says California's new law should have included more safeguards. She says the news laws are an "irresponsible way to deal with a very, very important subject."
Giglio says under the current law there was the benefit of a patient having a conversation with their doctor about exual partners. "That doctor could have a little bit of concern, a little bit of connection, should have a little bit of understanding for what's going on," she says. "It's not the purpose of a pharmacist."