The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the country's largest group of OB/GYNs, said today that oral contraceptives are safe enough to be sold over the counter in drugstores without a doctor's prescription. Awesome!
From the press release:
Easier access to OCs should help lower the nation's high unintended pregnancy rate, a rate that has not changed over the past 20 years and costs taxpayers an estimated $11.1 billion annually.
Cost, access, and convenience issues are common reasons why women do not use contraception or use it inconsistently. There are no OCs currently approved for OTC access, but The College believes OTC availability will improve women's access to and usage of contraception. The benefits of making OCs easily accessible OTC outweigh the risks, says The College.
The AP points out that it'll be a while before companies actually start selling contraception OTC, since they'd have to get government permission first, and it's unclear how birth control would be covered by insurance if it were as accessible as condoms or aspirin. (The latter of which has more complicated side effects than the pill, a good thing to bring up if anyone tells you this isn't a great idea.)
But ACOG's opinion, published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, says the cost issue would obvs be addressed, and noted that not all women are eligible for the free birth control provision, anyway; a recent survey found that young women and the uninsured still pay an average of $16 per month.
As someone who stopped taking the pill because I always forgot to refill my prescription in time (and because I switched insurance providers and it got expensive as fuck) — and someone who's into the concept of unfettered access to contraceptives in general, obviously — I'm psyched about this announcement and also wish I could inject rational discourse about women's reproductive choice straight into my veins; I think it would feel better than morphine.
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