Last updated on: 3/4/2024 | Author:


The background and pro and con arguments were written by staff based upon input from the following sources.

1.Guttmacher Institute, “Contraceptive Use in the United States,”, July 2018
2.Jo Jones, William Mosher, and Kimberly Daniels, “Current Contraceptive Use in the United States, 2006-2010, and Changes in Patterns of Use since 1995,”, Oct. 18, 2012
3.Katie Klabusich, “Advocates Set Sights on OTC Birth Control Pill on World Contraception Day,”, Sep. 26, 2017
4.Bedsider, “Should the Pill Be Available Over the Counter?,”, Mar. 6, 2015
5.Joe Speidel, “Risky Business: Is Birth Control Safe?,”, Jan. 6, 2012
6.Elisabeth Rosenthal, “Is It Time for Off-the-Shelf Birth-Control Pills?,”, Apr. 20, 2013
7.Gabrielle Moss, “70 Percents of Americans Want Over-the-Counter Birth Control, and That’s Not So Crazy Considering You Can Easily Buy These 5 Drugs Already,”, Oct. 22, 2014
8.Miranda Hitti, “Plan B One-Step: Seven Questions and Answers,”, Nov. 29, 2007
9.Walgreens, “What’s the Difference between Emergency Contraceptives, Such as Plan B One-Step and Regular Birth Control Pills?,” (accessed Aug. 28, 2018)
10.OCs OTC Working Group, “Global Oral Contraception Availability,” (accessed Mar. 18, 2022)
11.Suzannah Weiss, “New Mexico Becomes the Fourth State to Let Pharmacists Prescribe Birth Control,”, June 13, 2017
12.Alyssa Kennedy, Jess Zuo, and Navya Dasari “The Over-the-Counter Birth Control Debate,”, Mar. 31, 2016
13.Diana G. Foster, et al., “Potential Public Sector Cost-Savings from Over-the-Counter Access to Oral Contraceptives,”, May 2015
14.National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, “Over-the-Counter Birth Control Will Benefit Latina Health,”, Nov. 20, 2012
15.Neesha Powell, “Why We Need to Talk about Queer and Trans People and Birth Control,”, Dec. 2, 2017
16.Kellan Baker and Laura E. Durso, “Why Repealing the Affordable Care Act Is Bad Medicine for LGBT Communities,”, Mar. 22, 2017
17.Adam Sonfield and Kathryn Kost, “Public Costs from Unintended Pregnancies and the Role of Public Insurance Programs in Paying for Pregnancy-Related Care: National and State Estimates for 2010,”, Feb. 2015
18.DG Foster, et al., “Number of Oral Contraceptive Pill Packages Dispensed and Subsequent Unintended Pregnancies,” Obstetrics & Gynecology, Mar. 2011
19.JE Potter, et al., “Continuation of Prescribed Compared with Over-the-Counter Oral Contraceptives,”, Mar. 2011
20.Laura Lindberg, John Santelli, and Sheila Desai, “Understanding the Decline in Adolescent Fertility in the United States, 2007-2012,” Journal of Adolescent Health, Nov. 2016
21.Johns Hopkins Medicine, “Experts Find Strong Case for Over-the-Counter Oral Contraceptives for Adults and Teens,”, Mar. 14, 2017
22.Juell B. Homco, et al., “Reasons for Ineffective Pre-Pregnancy Contraception Use in Patients Seeking Abortion Services,” Contraception, Aug. 9, 2011
23.American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “Committee Opinion Number 615, January 2015,”, 2017
24.Joerg Dreweke, “New Clarity for the U.S. Abortion Debate: A Steep Drop in Unintended Pregnancy Is Driving Recent Abortion Declines,”, Mar. 18, 2016
25.Emily M. Johnston, Brigette Courtot, and Genevieve M. Kenney, “Access to Contraception in 2016 and What It Means to Women,”, Jan. 2017
26.National Cancer Institute, “Oral Contraceptives and Cancer Risk,” (accessed Aug. 21, 2018)
27.Planned Parenthood, “What Are the Benefits of the Birth Control Pill?,” (accessed Aug. 21, 2018)
28.Jennifer Rainey Marquez, “Other Benefits of Birth Control Pills,”, Dec. 14, 2015
29.Valerie Tarico, “10 Bonus Health Benefits of Birth Control,”, Feb. 9, 2015
30.Jessi Phillips, “What Happened When We Tried to Get Over-the-Counter Birth Control in California,”, Apr. 27, 2016
31.Pam Belluck and Sabrina Tavernise, “States Lead Effort to Let Pharmacists Prescribe Birth Control,”, Nov. 22, 2015
32.S. Shotorbani, et al., “Agreement between Women’s and Provider’s Assessment of Hormonal Contraceptive Risk Factors,” Contraception, May 2006
33.Ibis Reproductive Health, “Border Contraceptive Access Study,” (accessed Aug. 21, 2018)
34.OCs OTC Working Group, “FAQs,” (accessed Aug. 22, 2018)
35.Ibis Reproductive Health, “A National Survey of US Women’s Interest in Over-the-Counter Access to Oral Contraceptives,”, June 2013
36.Daniel Grossman, et al., “Interest in Over-the-Counter Access to Oral Contraceptives among Women in the United States,” Contraception, Oct. 201337
37.Adam Sonfield, Kinsey Hasstedt, Megan L. Kavanaugh, and Ragnar Anderson, “The Social and Economic Benefit of Women’s Ability to Determine Whether and When to Have Children,”, Mar. 2013
38.Jeffrey A. Singer, “Free Birth Control from the Third-Party Trap,”, Sep. 1, 2017
39.Kaiser Family Foundation, “Women’s Health Insurance Coverage,”, Oct. 31, 2017
40.Adam Sonfield, “Contraceptive Coverage at the U.S. Supreme Court: Countering the Rhetoric with Evidence,”, Mar. 7, 2014
41.American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “ACOG Statement on Pharmacist Prescribing Laws,”, Jan. 4, 2016
42.OCs OTC Working Group, “Statement of Purpose,” (accessed Aug. 22, 2018)
43.American Public Health Association, “Improving Access to Over the Counter Contraception by Expanding Insurance Coverage,”, Nov. 1, 2011
44.Jennifer McIntosh, et al., “Changing Oral Contraceptives from Prescription to Over-the-Counter Status: An Opinion Statement of the Women’s Health Practice and Research Network of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy,”, 2011
45.Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, “Women’s Health Insurance Coverage,”, Oct. 31, 2017
46.National Women’s Law Center, “New Data Estimate 62.8 Million Women Have Coverage of Birth Control without Out-of-Pocket Costs,”, Nov. 6, 2018
47.Amelia Harnish, “Is Over-the-Counter Birth Control a Good Idea?,”, Jan. 31, 2017
48.Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux, “Offering Birth Control Over the Counter Wouldn’t Make It Any Cheaper,”, Nov. 18, 2014
49.Gregor Aisch and Bill Marsh, “How Likely Is It That Birth Control Could Let You Down?,”, Sep. 13, 2014
50.Robin Marty, “10 Things Every Woman Should Know about Over-the-Counter Birth Control,”, Oct. 9, 2014
51.Suzanne Batchelor, “Fewer Pelvic Exams for Teens Seeking Birth Control,”, Jan. 15, 2004
52.Brittney McNamara, “7 Birth Control Myths That Are Definitely Putting You at Risk of Pregnancy,”, May 31, 2016
53.Peter Arcidiacono, Ahmed Khwaja, and Lijing Ouyang, “Habit Persistence and Teen Sex, Could Increased Access to Contraception Have Unintended Consequences for Teen Pregnancies?,”, Jan. 22, 2011
54.American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “Debate to Consider if America’s Ready for OTC Birth Control,”, 2017
55.Harris Interactive, “Attitudes and Beliefs about the Use of Over-the-Counter Medicines: A Dose of Reality,”, Jan. 2002
56.Deane B. Cheatham and Michael S. Wogalter, “Reported Liklihood of Reading Over-the-Counter (OTC) Medication Labeling and Contacting a Physician,”, 2002
57.Miami Center of Excellence, “Over 35? It’s Time to Reevaluate Your Birth Control Method,” (accessed Sep. 18, 2018)
58.Joe Speidal, “Risky Business 2: Migraines, High Blood Pressure, and Blood Clots,”, June 15, 2016
59.Sarah Watts, “An Over-the-Counter Pill Isn’t Safe,”, June 15, 2015
60.WebMD, “Medicines That Interfere with Birth Control Pills,”, Dec. 4, 2017
61.Maria Isabel Rodriguez, “Which Medications Can Mess with Birth Control?,”, Aug. 22, 2017
62.Guttmacher Institute, “Many American Women Use Birth Control Pills for Noncontraceptive Reasons,”, Nov. 15, 2011
63.Olivia Alperstein, “From the Left: Birth Control Should Be Free, Not Over the Counter,”, July 16, 2017
64.ACLU, “Preventing Teenagers from Getting Contraceptives Unless They Tell a Parent Puts Teens at Risk,” (accessed Sep. 19, 2018)
65.Sneha Barot, “Moving Oral Contraceptives to Over-the-Counter Status: Policy Versus Politics,”, Nov. 5, 2015
66.Katie Mui, “Here’s How to Get Birth Control without a Doctor’s Prescription,”, Feb. 13, 2018
67.Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, “Making a One-Year Supply of Birth Control a National Standard,” bixbycenter.ucef.efu (accessed Sep. 19, 2018)
68.SC Landau, MP Tapias, and BT McGhee, “Birth Control within Reach: A National Survey on Women’s Attitudes toward and Interest in Pharmacy Access to Hormonal Contraception,” Contraception, Dec. 2006
69.Free the Pill, “Who Prescribes the Pill Online?,” (accessed Sep. 19, 2018)
70.Nurx, homepage, (accessed Sep. 19, 2018)
71.Lemonaid, homepage, (accessed Sep. 19, 2018)
72.Pandia Health, homepage, (accessed Sep. 19, 2018)
73.Casey Gueren, “Should Birth Control Be Over the Counter?,”, Oct. 31, 2014
74.FDA, “Birth Control Guide,” (accessed Sep. 20, 2018)
75.Sarah Elizabeth Richards, “Why Over-the-Counter Birth Control Could Actually Lead to More Unwanted Pregnancies,”, May 28, 2016
76.Daniel Grossman and Kate Grindlay Kelly, “These Birth Control Pills Should Be Available without a Prescription,”, Feb. 2, 2018
77.Kelli Stidham Hall, James Trussell, and Eleanor Bimla Schwarz, “Progestin-Only Contraceptive Pill Use among Women in the United States,” Contraception, Dec. 2012
78.Holly Grigg-Spall, Sweetening the Pill, or How We Got Hooked on Hormonal Birth Control, 2013
79.Lara Briden, “Why Young Teens Need Real Periods–Not the Pill,”, Sep. 8, 2015
80.Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), “FAQs about Rx-to-OTC Switch,” (accessed Oct. 15, 2018)
81.Kirsten M.J. Thompson, “A Brief History of Birth Control in the U.S.,”, Dec. 14, 2013
82.Andrea Tone, Devices & Desires: A History of Contraceptives in America, 2001
83.Lisa Fogarty, “What Birth Control Was Like in Every Decade since the 1900s,”, Apr. 12, 2017
84.Joan M. Jensen, “The Evolution of Margaret Sanger’s Family Limitation Pamphlet, 1914-1921,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 1981
85.Emma McGowan, “11 Crucial Moments in the History of the Reproductive Rights Movement,”, June 12, 2017
86.Jennifer Latson, “Why Birth Control Pioneer Margaret Sanger Kept Getting Arrested,”, Oct. 16, 2015
87.PBS, “Anthony Comstock’s ‘Chastity’ Laws,” (accessed Nov. 28, 2018)
88.Rachel Port, “Hobby Lobby: Birth Control and the Law,”, Oct. 22, 2014
89.Margaret Sanger Papers Project, “Jan. 2, 1923 First Legal Birth Control Clinic Opens in U.S.,”, Feb. 12, 2014
90.Jonathan Eig, The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution, 2014
91.Time Magazine, “Medicine: Birth Control Raid,”, Apr. 29, 1929
92.Margaret Sanger, “The Status of Birth Control: 1938,”, Apr. 19, 1938
93.Theodora R. Moses, “American Birth Control League,” (accessed July 10, 2018)
94.Dorothy Roberts, Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty, 1997
95.CDC, “Population by Age Groups, Race, and Sex for 1960-97,” (accessed Oct. 15, 2018)
96.ACLU, “Timeline of Important Reproductive Freedom Cases Decided by the Supreme Court,” (accessed Apr. 23, 2018)
97.Case Western Reserve University, “Intrauterine Device (IUD),” (accessed May 7, 2018)
98.Linda J. Piccinino and William D. Mosher, “Trends in Contraceptive Use in the United States: 1982-1995,”, Jan./Feb. 1998
99.Adam Liptak, “Supreme Court Rejects Contraceptives Mandate for Some Corporations,”, June 20, 2014
100.SCOTUS Blog, “Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged v. Burwell,” (accessed July 10, 2018)
101.Heather Munro Prescott, The Morning After: A History of Emergency Contraception in the United States, 2011
102.A. Dekhtyar, “A Difficult Proposition: Oral Contraceptives’ Switch from Prescription to Over-the-Counter Status,”, 1997
103.Rob Stein, “Plan B Use Surges, And So Does Controversy,”, July 13, 2007
104.American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “Committee Opinion,”, Dec. 2012
105.Bobby Jindal, “The End of Birth-Control Politics,”, Dec. 13, 2012
106.Charlotte Alter, “Why Over-the-Counter Birth Control Is Stalled,”, Dec. 23, 2015
107.Daniel Grossman, “Birth Control Pills Should Not Be Prescription-Only,”, June 19, 2015
108.Mia Love, “H.R.5138 – Over-the-Counter Contraceptives Act of 2016,” (accessed Oct. 25, 2018)
109.Tammy Duckworth, “H.R.3163 – Affordability Is Access Act,” (accessed Oct. 25, 2018)
110.Ibis Reproductive Health, “Ibis Announces Groundbreaking Partnership with HRA Pharma to Move a Birth Control Pill Over the Counter,”, Dec. 2016
111.Amie Newman, “Over-the-Counter Birth Control Pill on It’s Way to the U.S.A.,”, Jan. 9, 2017
112.Mayo Clinic, “MiniPill (Progestin-Only Birth Control Pill),”, Mar. 2, 2018
113.American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “Progestin-Only Hormonal Birth Control: Pill and Injection,”, Mar. 2018
114.Amanda Nottke, “Taming the Cycle: How Does the Pill Work?,”, Mar. 15, 2018
115.Mayo Clinic, “Combination Birth Control Pills,”, Nov. 15, 2017
116.United Nations, “Trends in Contraceptive Use Worldwide 2015,”, 2015
117.FDA, “Now Available without a Prescription,”, May 4, 2016
118.Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), “Ingredients & Dosages Transferred From Rx-to-OTC Status (or New OTC Approvals) by the Food and Drug Administration Since 1975,”, Jan. 3, 2018
119.Kimberly Daniels and Joyce C. Abma, “Current Contraceptive Status among Women Aged 15-49: United States, 2016-2017,”, Dec. 2018
120.Kimberly Daniels and Joyce C. Abma, "Current Contraceptive Status among Women Aged 15–49: United States, 2017–2019,", Oct. 2020
121.World Health Organization, "Women of Reproductive Age (15-49 Years) Population, Thousands," (accessed Mar. 17, 2022)
122.Caroline Medina and Lindsay Mahowald, "Repealing the Affordable Care Act Would Have Devastating Impacts on LGBTQ People,", Oct. 15, 2020
123.Office of Population Affairs, US Health and Human Services, "Trends in Teen Pregnancy and Childbearing," (accessed Mar. 17, 2022)
124.Michael F. Cannon and Jeffrey A. Singer, "Birth Control Should Be Available Over the Counter. How Congress Can Make That Happen,", Jan. 27, 2020
125.Kaiser Family Foundation, "Women's Health Insurance Coverage,", Nov. 08, 2021
126.National Women's Law Center, "Access to Birth Control without Out-of-Pocket Costs: Improving and Expanding the Affordable Care Act's Contraceptive Coverage Requirement," (accessed Mar. 22, 2022)
127.Guttmacher Institute, "Pharmacist-Prescribed Contraceptives,", Mar. 1, 2022
128.Perrigo Company plc, “Perrigo’s HRA Pharma Submits Application to FDA for First-Ever OTC Birth Control Pill,”, July 11, 2022
129.Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Kate Kelly, “F.D.A. to Weigh Over-the-Counter Sale of Contraceptive Pills,”, July 11, 2022
130.Pam Belluck, "The F.D.A. Now Says It Plainly: Morning-After Pills Are Not Abortion Pills,", Dec. 23, 2022
131.Bill Chappell, "FDA Approves Opill, the First Daily Birth Control Pill without a Prescription,", July 13, 2023
132.FDA, "FDA Approves First Nonprescription Daily Oral Contraceptive,", July 13, 2023
133.Perrigo, "Perrigo Announces U.S. FDA Approval for Opill® OTC Daily Oral Contraceptive,", July 13, 2023
134.Sydney Lupkin, "First Over-The-Counter Birth Control Pill Heads to Stores,", Mar. 4, 2024