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Over the Counter Birth Control


Oregon is the first state to legalize this option for patients. California is next up, and should have the law approved in a few months.

So, how does this work?

Well, no longer are the days where you need to have a prescription to fill your birth control. Instead, you simply go to your pharmacy, fill out a questionnaire, and the pharmacist will dispense your birth control.

Interestingly enough, there are only 45 countries that require women to visit a doctor before acquiring birth control – this means 102 countries have already been operating in this manner.

ACOG also supports over the counter birth control, and has been since 2012. Here’s what they had to say,

“pharmacist prescribing laws are not the same thing as over-the-counter access. Requiring a pharmacist to prescribe and dispense oral contraceptives only replaces one barrier — a physician’s prescription — with another. This is not going to allow us to reach women who remained underserved by the current prescribing requirements.”

Instead, they recommend…

“As ob-gyns, we respect our pharmacist colleagues, who share our commitment to quality patient care. But we know from evidence and experience that oral contraceptives are safe enough for over-the-counter access, and do not require any prescription at all. Research has shown that women are very adept at self-screening for any potential risks. And, although some women may be at elevated risk of thromboembolism associated with hormonal contraceptives, we know that pregnancy raises that risk to a larger degree, so the ability to prevent pregnancy actually protects these women.

Seventy-six percent of doctors and 70 percent of other healthcare providers – including nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and physician assistants – say women should be able to access the pill, patch and ring contraceptives through their pharmacist, according to a survey of 482 health care providers conducted by the University of California San Diego and University of California San Francisco.

So, there you have it. Oregon is on board and California is following suit shortly after. Personally, I feel women are educated enough and birth control is safe enough to where over the counter birth control should be an option.

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