It's Time to Make Birth Control Available Over-the-Counter, For Everyone
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In our eventual feminist utopia, birth control will be available in vending machines, water parks, and even those lip-gloss-and-tampon dispensers in movie theater bathrooms.
But unfortunately, obtaining oral contraceptive birth control these days is both expensive and enigmatic, especially if you’re young and/or uninsured: Currently, 47 states and the District of Columbia require a doctor’s prescription in order to obtain the pill. Issues of access are likely to get a lot worse once the Affordable Care Act is repealed and replaced by whatever nonsensical Frankenstein bill Paul Ryan put together during his lunch break. Advertisement But a new review paper from actual health experts—not politicians—argues that birth control should be accessible over-the-counter throughout the country, and to anyone who needs it, including teens. Despite the fact that in 2006, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the emergency contraceptive, Plan B, for over-the-counter sales for people 18 and up, very little has been done to ensure the same for hormonal birth control pills. In January 2016, Oregon became the first state to allow pharmacists to administer birth control pills and patches to a patient for up to three years. In April of the same year, California followed suit, but unlike Oregon—where patients were required to be 17 in order to obtain pills—there was no age requirement in place. Just this past February, Colorado became the third state to approve a similar measure, passing a law almost identical to that of Oregon’s.