Over the past couple of years, California and Oregon became the first U.S. states where women can purchase birth control without a doctor’s note.
Now, Missouri, Hawaii, Washington, South Carolina and Tennessee are looking over a similar bill that would give the women in their respective states that same opportunity. With the proposed bill, a local pharmacist can give birth control pills, patches, and rings to whoever requests them.
This means women could go to the pharmacy, get a prescription, and fill that prescription in one comprehensive visit.
Science says…this is an excellent idea. U.S. has a surprisingly high unexpected pregnancy rate for a developed country; this would help remedy that. And birth control is a pretty safe medication, with few/rare side effects from misusage. That’s doubly true when compared to other over-the-counter drugs, like the plethora of painkillers crushing America right now (that’s a whole other story though).
“There is a risk of blood clots with OC use, but it is extremely low and significantly lower than the risk of blood clots during pregnancy and the postpartum period,” the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says.
“Aspirin and acetaminophen are both available OTC (over-the-counter) even though they have well-known health risks.”
Ideally, having birth control available like aspirin – OTC – would eliminate the small hurdle of a pharmacy prescription (for example, buying birth control off the shelf when the pharmacy is closed).
Check out this chart depicting the availability of birth control over the counter, taken from 2012 – notice most countries allow it:
What may be more surprising than that graph is the bi-partisan support for OTC birth control. Republicans like Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado have come out in support, and the democrats are on board, too.