Target: Dr. Stephen Ostroff, M.D., Commissioner of Food and Drugs
Goal: Allow hormonal birth control pills to be available over-the-counter nationwide.
Throughout the United States (with the exception of Oregon), oral contraceptives are only available with a doctor’s prescription, even though the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (The College) have recommended oral contraceptives be available over-the-counter since 2012. Lack of access, or lack of convenient access to hormonal contraceptives, is one of the main reasons women either do not use contraceptives or use them inconsistently. Dr. Alison Edelman of Oregon Health & Science University stated, “…really we shouldn’t be holding women hostage for them to be getting their birth control.” Demand that American women finally be granted easy access to oral contraceptives.
The College has recognized oral contraceptives as safe and not necessary to require a prescription. The main risk that accompanies hormonal birth control is blood clots, but it is a very low risk, and much lower than the risk of blood clots during pregnancy or the first three months postpartum. Drugs with a higher likelihood of side effects, or greater health risks, include aspirin and acetaminophen, both of which are available over-the-counter throughout the country. Women over the age of 18 should be able to fill out a health questionnaire to determine their risk level, and then receive a year supply of birth control without a prescription.
If hormonal birth control is available without the need to visit the doctor, it will give women much greater, more consistent access to contraceptives, which will lower the rate of unexpected pregnancies nationwide, a problem that costs taxpayers an estimated $11 billion annually. Some oral contraceptives are also known to reduce pain and excessive bleeding associated with periods, along with reducing the risk of endometriosis and several types of cancers. Allowing birth control to be sold over-the-counter would give women greater healthcare overall.
By signing the petition below, you will help urge the Commissioner of Food and Drugs to allow oral contraceptives to be sold over-the-counter, granting women across the nation easier access to birth control, thus reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies.
Dear Dr. Ostroff,
Hormonal oral contraceptives have been deemed safe by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology since 2012. The risks associated with taking oral contraceptives, such as blood clots, are low. They are certainly lower than the same risks during pregnancy or postpartum, and fewer in number than the health risks associated with aspirin and acetaminophen, which are both available without a prescription.
The main reason women don’t take, don’t take consistently, or stop taking hormonal birth control is due to lack of convenient access. Allowing women 18 years of age and up over-the-counter access to birth control would significantly lower the number of unwanted pregnancies nationwide. A risk assessment could be done easily with a health questionnaire at the pharmacy without requiring women to go to a doctor for a refill.
I am urging you to allow women across the nation easier access to hormonal oral contraceptives. Please take actions to enforce policies that will lower the rate of unexpected pregnancies and save U.S. taxpayers $11 billion annually.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: ParentingPatch