Should Birth Control Pills Ever Be Over-The-Counter?

As great as birth control pills are, they’re also sort of a hassle. Forget about all of the side effects for a second – just getting your hands on them in the first place can be annoying. I mean, no one looks forward to a visit to the gynecologist, am I right? Imagine for a second what it would be like if you could pick up your birth control pills over-the-counter at your local drugstore without having to go through a doctor. Ah. It seems like such an easier world.

A new study shows that close to two-thirds of women would be on board for over-the-counter birth control pills – a discussion that has come up since Plan B was approved for over-the-counter use. About 30 percent of women who are not currently taking birth control pills say that they would take them if they were available without a prescription. And, guys, I think I totally agree with them – being able to pick up my birth control without going through a doctor first would be amazing. It seems like every time my prescription runs out, I don’t realize until the last possible second. Then I end up scrambling around, trying to score a doctor’s appointment, sitting in a waiting room for an hour and then sitting in a flimsy paper robe that covers NOTHING for another hour just to get a little piece of paper handed back to me. I can’t be the only one who does this.

Not only would this make our lives a whole lot easier, but it would also give all women so much more access to birth control pills. Women who don’t have the luxury of health insurance can’t just make a gynecologist appointment to get a prescription – it’s too much money! Girls who want to secretly take birth control pills without telling their parents would benefit from this also. Sure, there are clinics who give out free birth control, but going to a drugstore makes it a whole lot easier.

Also, more access to birth control pills can mean a lot less unplanned pregnancies. Women who can’t get their hands on the pill are probably either just using condoms, which aren’t as effective in preventing pregnancy as the pill, or maybe even nothing at all – and that kind of stinks. If everyone had easier access to birth control pills, it makes sense that more people would start using them.

However, while this all sounds lovely and great and perfect, there are also definitely some risks that come along with over-the-counter birth control pills. Every woman needs a different pill and sometimes certain pills don’t work for certain women – simply buying any kind of pill from the drugstore without consulting a doctor first doesn’t exactly seem like the smartest thing to do. It makes it a lot easier for a woman to get a pill that’s wrong for her.

The other downside is that if we’re getting our birth control pills over-the-counter, we’re less likely to head to the gynecologist for our yearly appointment. I know that for me, I consistently go to the gyno because I need to keep refilling my birth control prescription – and a lot of other women feel the same way. If we could just head to the drugstore without a prescription, would a lot of us stop going to the gyno? That definitely wouldn’t be good. It’s important to regularly get checked out down there to make sure we don’t have any cysts or other infections.

So, I guess I don’t really know what would work better. I love the idea of over-the-counter birth control pills, but obviously there would be some cracks in the system. Still, the thought of easier access to birth control pills for safer sex seems pretty great, right?

What do you think? Should birth control pills be over-the-counter? Do you think it’s a good or bad idea? Why do you feel that way? Join the debate and tell us in the comments!


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Posted in: Your Body
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  • dayme

    I don’t know what you mean by the gyno finding the right one? Mine just said “Here, come back in three months to get a new one if its not working out.” Sooo not going to a gyno wouldn’t do much. JUST SAYING!

  • Rachel

    I strongly disagree. It would be problematic medically. I took a contraceptive at one point for terrible acne and to ease the harshness of my period so I understand if that its important to get checked out by your doctor. If you have harsh periods or bad acne there are ways the pill can help, but your doctor has to view your paperwork to choose the right one, and make sure (if you are active) that it will work, and won’t cause a reaction. Plus, a gynecologist is THE best person to talk to about “it” and everything related to “it”.

  • mariana

    I had no idea it was so hard to get birth control pills on other countries. Here in Mexico you can just ask for them in any farmacy.