Walgreens clinics run by SSM to include birth control

The nonprofit Catholic organization SSM Health says it will provide birth control pills at 26 clinics inside St. Louis-area Walgreens stores that it began operating Thursday.

Four groups, led by the American Civil Liberties Union, wrote letters to SSM and Walgreens on Aug. 18, asking whether the clinics would be restricted by religious doctrine from allowing consultations on birth control.

SSM spokesman Jason Merrill said Thursday that the clinics will provide for 30-day prescriptions, the same policy carried by the clinics previously run in-house by Walgreens.

The clinics, operated by a nurse practitioner, will now be known as the SSM Health Express Clinic at Walgreens. They'll offer service by walk-in or appointment seven days a week. Twenty-two of the SSM clinics are in Missouri, and four are in Illinois.