Top Pro & Con Arguments


OTC birth control pills would decrease birth control choice and access.

Vanessa Cullins, obstetrician-gynecologist, noted that there were over 40 brands of birth control pills and “not every formulation will go over the counter.” By making only a few choices available OTC, women are more likely to follow the path of least resistance and choose those available at a drug store rather than by prescription, even if it isn’t the right variety of birth control for them. [73]

The FDA-approved contraceptive methods that would not be available over-the-counter include IUDs (both copper and with progestin), the implantable rod, and shots such as Depo-Provera, plus sterilization procedures, all of which the FDA stated are more effective than the Pill. [74]

Journalist Sarah Elizabeth Richards noted, “Women visiting their pharmacists won’t have access to the most reliable forms of birth control on the market because those methods, such as implantable rods or intrauterine devices (IUDs), will still require a trip to a doctor’s office.” [75]

And, even within birth control pill brands, choice will be limited. Most effort is focused on making the progestin-only (also called POP or minipills) OTC, rather than the estrogen and progestin pills (also called combination pills). Only about 0.4% of American reproductive-aged women take progestin-only birth control pills, or about 2% of all women who take the Pill. [76] [77]

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