Raising Awareness to #FreeThePill


Raising Awareness to #FreeThePill

by Sitara Sayyed
May 9, 2022
Four boxes showing what over-the-counter birth control could look like. The boxes are sitting on a table in front of some flowers on a balcony.

This Free the Pill Day, which we celebrate every May 9th, Power to Decide is happy to join with other advocates around the country to make birth control pills available over the counter (OTC). Many people across the US face barriers when trying to access contraceptives. Visiting a health care provider and getting a prescription for birth control can be difficult, especially for those living in contraceptive deserts. The Free the Pill campaign advocates for over-the-counter birth control that is affordable and accessible to all people. 

Birth control is basic health care. OTC birth control removes certain barriers that make it difficult for some to access birth control. Young people, minorities, and those living in contraceptive deserts face more barriers to accessing birth control than others. Addressing the inaccessibility of birth control is necessary; whether it’s to help people manage medical conditions or to prevent or space pregnancies so everyone can live life on their own terms. 

To raise awareness for this year’s Free the Pill Day, Advocates for Youth set up a mock-drugstore shelf in front of the White House to demonstrate what freeing the pill, by providing it over the counter, would look like. Advocates for Youth provided information on why the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should make birth control available over the counter. The organization also interviewed people passing by to get their thoughts on bringing a pill over the counter.   

Providing birth control OTC would allow for many more people to gain access to the contraceptives they want and need. As our CEO and others have pointed out, it is time for the FDA to follow the science and address health disparities by making this a reality. 

Sitara Sayyed is the Public Policy Intern at Power to Decide where she assists the Public Policy team with federal policy issues. She attends University of Maryland where she studies Public Policy.