7 Reasons Why You Should Be Able To Get Birth Control Pills Without An Rx

Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
By Amy Friedrich-Karnik

Imagine being able to buy birth control pills without having to schedule an appointment, take time out of your day to see a doctor, and then take the prescription to be filled by a pharmacist. What if you could just walk into a store and buy some? This reality is closer than you may think.

Doctors, policymakers, and politicians are increasingly calling to make birth control pills available over-the-counter. In fact, later this year, California will become the first state to sell the pill without a prescription. Here are seven reasons why this is an idea that should be put into action ASAP.







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Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
This half-a-century-old oral contraceptive is taken regularly by roughly 100 million women worldwide. In many places (almost all of Latin America, most of Africa, and Asia), women can get the pill without a prescription. While no drug — not even aspirin — is without risk, the pill has been proven extremely low-risk, safer by far than pregnancy.
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Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
Some birth control pills can help prevent anemia, endometriosis, several kinds of cancer, non-cancerous breast disease, and acne. Some can also reduce pain and excessive bleeding associated with periods.
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Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
Roughly half of all pregnancies in the United States today are unintended — a rate that has not changed significantly in 20 years. A recent study in the journal Contraception found that this rate could drop by as much as 25% if the pill were available over-the-counter.
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Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
The average person spends several years of life waiting — in places like the doctor’s office or on line at the pharmacy. Don’t you have better things to do? If the pill were available without a prescription, you could even pick up birth control while traveling — without having to find a new doctor in an unfamiliar place.
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Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
Plan B One Step — also known as the “morning-after pill”— is already available over-the-counter. Using the same hormone that's found (in a lower dose) in many brands of regular birth control pills, this emergency contraceptive prevents pregnancy up to five days after unprotected sex. Shouldn’t women have the same access to their routine, daily birth control?
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Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
The American Academy of Family Physicians and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists support over-the-counter access to birth control. And, the American Medical Association recommends that oral contraceptive companies apply for permission from the Food and Drug Administration to sell the pill over-the-counter.
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Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
Sex is a healthy, pleasurable part of life. Why not make it easier to enjoy safely?
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