Oregon is the first country in the U.S. to allow females to buy contraceptive pill without a doctor’s prescription. And when a similar statute in California takes effect in a few months, the Golden state will be next.
Instead of needing prescriptions, women in these states will be able to visit their local narcotic store, complete a simple questionnaire with the pharmacist and then be on their merry route — with a year’s supply of their opted pill, in the case of Oregon.
While news reports indicate this new system stimulates birth control “over the counter, ” it’s not quite as quick and easy as buying aspirin or coughing syrup. But it is permitting females to go straight to the source for this drug, and advocates argue it breaks down another barrier( in this case, a visit to the doctor) between women and the pill.
Of course, scientists and doctors have a lot to say about these new laws. Here’s what you need to know about buying contraceptive pill without a doctor involved.
1. It’s actually the norm around the world for women to purchase contraceptive pill without a doctor’s prescription .
Ladies in high-income countries like the U.S ., Japan and Australia are generally required to get prescriptions first, but those in countries like China and India aren’t, reports Reuters. In all, merely 45 countries require a prescription for contraceptive pill, while women in 102 countries can either access the pill over the counter or do so once they’ve completed a simple screening.
2. The idea has some significant backers in America.
Currently, most American females get their birth control prescription after get a check-up, which includes cervical cancer and STI testing, at the doctor’s. While those exams are important, they’re not necessary before starting the pill, says the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The ACOG has endorsed true over-the-counter access for contraceptive pill since 2012, saying that females are capable of screening themselves to see if it’s safe in order to be allowed to take the pill. In fact, ACOG thinks that the new laws in Oregon and California don’t go far enough. In a Jan. 2016 statement, they re-iterate their is supportive of actual over-the-counter access and emphasize that because the new laws in California and Oregon still require a prescription from a pharmacist, they are replace one barrier with another.
3. Women are more than capable of figuring out if the pill is right for them .
Like all hormonal birth control, the pill carries some heightened risks, which is why women who have a history of heart attack, stroke, blood clots and uncontrolled high blood pressure should not use it. Likewise, women who smoking and are over 35 are also at a heightened risk of a medical condition if they take the pill.
But as the ACOG states, several surveys have shown that women indeed are more than capable of telling whether or not the pill is right for them. For instance, 2006 analyze conducted in Seattle found that women’s self-evaluations about whether or not they should take the pill matched up to their doctor’s evaluations more than 90 percent of the time. When there was disagreement between the two, it was usually because the women were being more vigilant and cautious about their own risks than the doctors.
4. Most American females support this .
Most American females wish they could purchase their pills without a prescription. Almost two-thirds of 2,000 females surveyed by the sexual health nonprofit Ibis Reproductive Health say they’d subsistence over-the-counter birth control, while about 30 percent of women who use no birth control or only condoms say they’d take the pill if it were available over the counter, reports Reuters. A meta-analysis of studies conducted in 16 countries suggest that this wish for over-the-counter birth control is global.
5. Teens are on board, too.
Unsurprisingly, teenaged girls are supportive of the move too. Teens are uniquely at risk for unintended pregnancy, but are still under the care of parents or other protectors who may not approve of their sex lives and balk at buying contraception. A 2014 survey of 348 teen girls revealed that 73 percent of them would support over-the-counter access to the pill, and 61 percent of them said they’d use the birth control if it was available this route.
6. Health care providers agree that females don’t need a prescription.
Most physicians say that females should be able to get hormonal birth control after a brief consultation with a pharmacist, similar to what Oregon and California’s new laws allow.
Seventy-six percent of doctors and 70 percent of other healthcare providers — including nurse practitioner, nurse midwives, and physician deputies — say females should be able to access the pill, patch and ring contraceptives through their pharmacist, according to a survey of 482 health care providers conducted by the University of California San Diego and University of California San Francisco. At the same time, these medical experts were concerned that greater access to birth control meant that females would be less vigilant about regular health screenings.
7. More access to birth control entails more money saved for everyone .
Allowing females to buy the pill without requesting them to get a doctor’s prescription first will save a country money. Reproductive health researchers at UCSF created a statistical model supposing that over the counter contraceptive pill would be available at low or no cost to women. In this scenario, an additional 11 to 21 percent of low-income females would start using the pill, resulting in an estimated seven to 25 percent decrease in unintended pregnancies. This would save money for public health plans, the researchers say, as states would have to pay less for pregnancy and birth care.
CLARIFICATION : Language has been added to more accurately reflect ACOG’s position on the new laws in Oregon and California .
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