Free the Pill: Why Birth Control Should Be Available OTC

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Free the Pill: Why Birth Control Should Be Available OTC

December 23, 2020
A graphic which shows three women, two in black and white and one in color and the text, "1 in 3 adult women who have ever tried to get prescription birth control said they faced obstacles."

For the more than 19 million women who live in contraceptive deserts, or counties in which they lack reasonable access to a health center offering the full range of birth control methods, getting a prescription for birth control means having to do more than show up to an appointment. It might mean they must find a babysitter, take time off work, or travel long distances to access their preferred birth control method.

Birth control is basic health care. It’s time to begin removing barriers like these by making the birth control pill available over the counter. It’s time to #FreeThePill.

Here are six reasons that the birth control pill should be available over the counter, to anyone who wants it:

To help with painful acne:

I was having really painful acne, and after months of trying to fix it with skincare, I switched to a birth control pill and now my face doesn’t hurt every time I try to eat a sandwich #ThxBirthControl

— Cynthia Beavin (@CynthiaBeavin) November 19, 2020

To ease cramps:

Been happily on the pill for nearly 10 years. Saved me from miserable, debilitating cramps even before pregnancy was a possibility. Now it's the best two for one deal, no babies and no cramps! 😀 #ThxBirthControl

— RARA (@Ruth_AnneSeburn) November 18, 2020

For self-care: 

Oh, are we thanking birth control? My psychiatric symptoms are HIGHLY mitigated by the plain old pill. #ThxBirthControl

— 🎃 Casey at the 🦇 🎃 (@Ela_Hadrun) November 18, 2020

For preventing cancer:

Just started birth control for the first time yesterday. Thankful for a pill that can help reduce cancer risk, prevent pregnancy, and help prevent cysts which will help me avoid another surgery. #ThxBirthControl

— Rachel Johnson (@RJohnson633) November 18, 2020

To boost our confidence: 

I love how my birth control made my skin look so better, less cravings, improved my mood swings and no more hair fall 😭 It’s amazing how a little pill can do so much.

— Tara (@taraanillas) November 17, 2020

To make our dreams possible: 

In college, my period was so debilitating that I would throw up from the pain. I would miss multiple classes because I couldn’t get out of bed. The Pill regulated my cycle and made the pain manageable. Absolute game-changer. #ThxBirthControl

— 👩🏻‍🦰 (@RedHeadedScot) November 18, 2020

An accessible, available over-the-counter birth control pill isn’t everything though! Our vision for the pill is that it’s affordable and available to people of all ages:

Without question, we think the birth control pill should be:

  • Available over the counter.
  • Covered by insurance.
  • Affordable for everyone.
  • Available to people of all ages.
  • Accessible for all.

Research has shown that when the pill moves over the counter it remains a safe and effective method of birth control. And it’s important to note that over the counter birth control pills wouldn’t remove the need to see a doctor regularly for things such as well woman visits, Pap smears, and IUD placement. 

By removing the barrier of a prescription, we can increase access not just for the 19 million women living in deserts, but for everyone across the country. By expanding access to contraception, we’re supporting people's right to determine their own future.