The Need to Make Teenage Birth Control Accessible Over the Counter

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There are a number of merit arguments to conclude that Birth Control pills should be available at pharmacies without a prescription. There is a plethora of drugs that are now over the counter which were once prescription only drugs including Sudafed, Cortaid, Nyquil, Monistat, Claritin, and most importantly… Tylenol. The idea is simple, birth control needs to be sold at pharmacies without prescription.

Oral contraceptive actually does not resemble prescription only drugs at all. First of all, it is not addictive. All women on BCP can safely get off of the drug without having withdrawls. However, cigarettes and alcohol both cause psychological dependence and they are both sold freely at grocery stores. Oral contraceptive cannot cause an overdose. It might give you a nasty reaction like throwing up or hives… but it is not deadly, unlike acetaminophen. BCP is aso a lot safer than smoking, driving, or even taking a daily aspirin. All the contrary, taking the pill actually promotes health benefits. It can regulate the menstrual cycle, and reduces risks of ovarian cysts, anemia as well as uterine and ovarian cancers.

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Switching Birth control to an over the counter drug would make it a lot more accessible to adolescents and young women. Considering that younger women inarguably face more pressure to have sex, it only makes sense to have them be safe against unwanted pregnancies. As of right now, for an adolescent to get ahold of OBC they must tell their parents and then their parents would take them to a pediatrician or gynecologist. Statistically speaking, 47 percent of sexually active teenage girls said that they would stop accessing all reproductive health care services from the clinic if they couldn't get contraceptives without first telling their parents. 99 percent of these teens, the ones who would stop or delay getting contraceptive services or STD testing and treatment, said they would continue having sex. (Id. at 712.) Let’s face it, if teenagers are going to have sex… they might as well be safe about it. Close to 900,000 teenagers get pregnant each year. Four out of 10 girls get pregnant at least once before they turn 20. (Stanley K. Henshaw, 20-24 5 2003). Think about how small that statistic really is. Take a moment to think about ten women you know… four of them will likely get pregnant before they even reach the legal drinking age. These unwanted pregnancies aren’t easy to deal with. Whether the adolescent chooses to keep the baby, put it up for adoption, or terminate it; it’s a whole lot easier and safer and less traumatizing to just take a pill once a day.

Many people believe over the counter birth control would be a risk to those women who can not be on it. A study in El Paso supports that women who can answer 15 questions, were pretty accurate in deciding whether the pill was safe for them or not. All it would take is a pharmacist in the drug store to ask the customer 15 simple questions and if the answer is “yes” to any of them, they should consider speaking to a doctor first. A couple of those questions consist of:

  1. Are you a smoker age 35 or older?
  2. Do you think you might be pregnant?
  3. Have you had a baby in the past 3 weeks?
  4. Are you currently breastfeeding and is your baby less than 6 months old?
  5. Do you have high blood pressure?
  6. Have you had a heart attack or stroke?

Clearly these questions are pretty straightforward and don’t require an expert to decipher whether you should be on BC or not. Ultimately, these decisions would be up to the FDA. Federal workers have been putting in hard work to make this movement happen. Not only would it take a lot of money, but a lot of approval too. However, if this is carried out correctly… it would benefit hundreds of millions of women in the country.

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