Doctors Group: Sell Birth Control Drug Over The Counter

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 20, 2012   |   7:25PM   |   Washington, DC

Never mind that it carries health risks for women and has not lowered the number of abortions or unplanned pregnancies, but a top doctor’s organization says the birth control pill should be sold over the counter.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which has taken positions in the past supportive of abortion, says birth control pills should be sold over the counter. The morning after pill is already available over the counter for anyone over the age of 17 and the doctors’ group says the birth control pill should be sold that way, too.

“It’s unfortunate that in this country where we have all these contraceptive methods available, unintended pregnancy is still a major public health problem,” said Dr. Kavita Nanda, an OB/GYN who co-authored the opinion for the doctors group.

The organization believes the drug should be made more freely available because the unintended pregnancy rate hasn’t been lowered in two decades. However, the pill is already generally available to women who want it and visit a physician first — making it unlikely the abortion or pregnancy rate would be substantially lowered by selling them over the counter.

According to the AP report on the ACOG opinion, “the FDA said it was willing to meet with any company interested in making the pill nonprescription, to discuss what if any studies would be needed.”

Ironically, while pro-life advocates have been upset that the Obamacare HHS mandate requires religious groups to pay for birth control drugs, making the birth control pill available over the counter would take it out of the mandate and make it so Obamacare doesn’t cover it as a prescription drug.

Dr. Michael New, a political science professor at the University of Michigan–Dearborn, says there is no evidence birth control cuts the number of abortions.



All in all, the pro-life movement receives plenty of criticism from the mainstream media and supporters of legal abortion for not being more contraceptive-friendly. However, in reality there is little evidence that supports the effectiveness of contraceptive programs. Separate studies from both the Guttmacher Institute and the Centers for Disease Control both indicate that a low percentage of sexually active women forgo contraception due to high cost or lack of availability.

Additionally, there is a body of research documenting the ineffectiveness of various contraception programs. For instance, the Daily Mail reported that a program launched by the British government in 1999 to provide “comprehensive” sexual education and birth control to British teens resulted in consistent increases in the teen pregnancy rate. Similarly, a study of a free contraception program in Scotland which appeared in the journal Contraception in 2004 found no decline in abortion rates. Finally, a study of a free contraception program in San Francisco which appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association found this program produced no decrease in unintended pregnancy rates. Of course, these studies typically receive scant attention from the mainstream media.