According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, California passed a law allowing women access to birth control without a doctor’s prescription. California has made strides by becoming the third state, after Washington and Oregon, to allow over-the-counter birth control. The new law is a progressive change that I believe all states should adapt.
I believe that prescription-free birth control is a step in the right direction. California, Washington and Oregon should be held as examples for the effects that over-the-counter birth control will have on women. However, I think that other states should hold off until there’s enough data to see what prescription-free birth control leads to.
The law covers pills, patches, injections and vaginal rings. However, the law isn’t a free-for-all — a pharmacist will take your blood pressure and give you a questionnaire to make sure that you are choosing the right birth control. I think that the measures taken are a safe enough way to ensure that women are receiving the proper birth control. According to a NewsWeek article, the surveys are designed to make sure that any preexisting health conditions a women may have are taken into account.
I think it’s great that all women could have access to the contraceptive measures. Women will be able to obtain it easier compared to waiting for a gynecologist appointment and then a prescription. I also believe that easier access will lead to less unintentional pregnancies.
CBS News spoke with Dr. Mark DeFrancesco, the president of The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, regarding prescription-free birth control. DeFrancesco said that easier access to birth control could reduce the number of abortions. Abortion continues to be a controversial topic that our nation faces. Whether someone believes that abortion should be legal or illegal, reducing the number of abortions is something that everyone would likely agree is beneficial.
However, there are also cons that come with over-the-counter birth control. It could create a problem for some women if the price of birth control goes up and their insurance doesn’t cover it due to price limitations. It’s up to the pharmacy to decide whether they will charge for screening patients and distributing the medication. Making birth control more expensive than it is with the additional charges could create a barrier between some women and the process of obtaining birth control. Hopefully, the more states that allow over-the-counter birth control will help to make prices become regulated.
According to the ACOG website, oral contraceptives are safe enough to be available over-the-counter. ACOG agreed that the benefits outweigh the risks. I agree that benefits such as reducing the number of abortions and unwanted pregnancies supercede any risk. All states should consider implementing over-the-counter birth control.
Overall, the new law would let women have more control over the direction that they want to take when it comes to birth control and planning their future. With the defunding of Planned Parenthood in December, it seemed like women were losing contraceptive options. Over-the-counter birth control gives women an opportunity that they thought they may never have again.