Academy SponsorsThe government’s restriction on birth control violates women’s universal rights to control their body. Women would have easier access to birth control if they could purchase it at local drug stores, complete a simple questionnaire with the pharmacist and then be on their way. Birth control pills should be available to all teenage girls and women without a prescription. It’s their body and it’s a pill women take to help them in their everyday lives.

On January 1, Oregon became the first state to allow women to obtain birth control without a prescription. Under the new law, women 18 and older can go to their local pharmacies, fill out a questionnaire, and receive a year’s supply of oral contraceptives. It’s not a true “over the counter” transaction, but women will no longer have to make a trip to a doctor’s office — and pay for an expensive office visit — for a prescription. In the rest of the 49 states, The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) restricts women’s ability to use birth control consistently because some women can’t afford that visit to the doctor. There should be a lot less spending on unwanted and unnecessary visits to the doctor’s office in order to get a prescription. According to The national Latina Institute for reproductive health says, “Over the counter access will greatly reduce the systemic barriers like puberty, immigration status and language.”

The sale of birth control over the counter will dramatically decrease the amount of unplanned pregnancies. It is debatable as to how many pregnancies would be prevented by making birth control pills available over the counter. In an article by CNN it states,  “Approximately 50 percent of all pregnancies are unplanned, a rate that hasn’t changed much in the past 20 years.” Although the amount of unplanned pregnancies that can be prevented by birth control is unknown it’s possible to believe that the 50 percent rate of the past 20 years would decrease. Greater access to birth control will help recuce unplanned pregnancies and abortions.

Some will point to an increased risk of adverse reaction without doctor’s screening. According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist, “The American college of obstetricians and gynecologists acknowledges that the pill can increase a patterns risk of blood clots and strokes especially if she’s obese or smokes. Selling the medication over the counter would reduce the chance that a women would be screened by a doctor.” But the same group also says that studies have shown that women may be able  to self screen for these conditions using a questionnaire. These test are important, but they’re not necessary before starting the pill, says the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) has endorsed true over the counter access for birth control pills since 2012, saying that women are capable of screening themselves to see if it’s safe for them to take the pill.

If we keep growing as a country more and more states will discover the significance of birth control pills being available over the counter and how helpful it will be to women and teenagers all around the world. Throughout history women have not had the same freedom and control that men have had over their own lives. The law makers and legislators in the United States that determine laws surrounding birth control are primarily elderly caucasian men. This isn’t acceptable because men do not go through the struggles of bearing children, so who are they to determine whether women can or cannot. If we as a society value men and women equally then we should allow them the same rights to control their own bodies. If more states throughout the country strived to inquire strategies much like Oregon, our country will see a drastic change in birth control policies.