News & Resources: Over-the-counter Contraception & Youth Rights

1. European Consortium for Emergency Contraception (October 2018)

2. Access to Birth Control, Sex Ed, and Women’s Health Services is at Risk – EverydayHealth (July 2018)

  • In the U.S., birth control and contraception remain controversial – involving political and ethical conflicts well beyond considerations of health-service provision and individuals’ choices. From the proposals put forth by the Republican party to the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, this piece covers everything that affects the politics surrounding birth control.

3. Contraception Deserts – National Public Radio (March 2018)

4. End the ban on OTC oral contraceptives – STAT (December 2017)

  • In 2018, during a confirmation hearing for Alex Azar, President Trump’s nominee for secretary of Health and Human Services, the question of requiring employers to cover contraception was presented and it sparked a discussion about the different ways in which OTC birth control would either negatively or positively affect women. 

5. New Scholarship on OTC Contraception for Minor Adolescents (June 2017)

  • A review published in the Journal of Adolescent Health explores the scientific issues and regulatory processes involved in switching oral contraceptives to OTC status for minor adolescents. It reviews: (1) the regulatory criteria for switching a drug to OTC status; (2) risk of pregnancy and safety during use of oral contraceptives (OCs), including combined oral contraceptives and progestin-only pills for adolescents; (3) the ability of adolescents to use OCs consistently and correctly; (4) OTC access to OCs and potential effect on sexual risk behaviors; and (5) the potential for reduced opportunities for clinicians to counsel and provide recommended reproductive health care to adolescents. It finds strong scientific rationale for including adolescents in any regulatory change to switch OCs to OTC status. OCs are safe and highly effective among adolescents; contraindications are rarer among adolescents compared to adult women. Ready access to OCs, condoms, and emergency contraception increases their use without increasing sexual risk behaviors.

6. Birth Control Pills Would be Safe for Teens (March 2017)

7. New Birth Control Bill Could Limit Access – Vox (September 2016)

  • Trump’s new bill for moving birth control over-the-counter sounds good, but could in reality make it less accessible to a lot of women. Women’s health groups such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and others oppose the Republican bill although they endorse making the move to over-the-counter. The opposition lies in the fear that the move would make contraception much more expensive.

8. Emergency Contraception, a review – Oxford Academic (April 2015)

  • Over-the-counter contraceptives tend to be in the form of emergency contraception (EC). This study looks into contraception options for women in countries worldwide and shows how access to the pill is of crucial importance to its effectiveness in the population, because if more readily available, the higher the chances it will be used safely.

9. Over-the-counter Birth Control Fight – BBC News (September 2014)

  • Besides most of Western Europe, emergency birth control readily available over-the-counter and some other forms of contraception are available for women with at the very least an in-store pharmacist consultation, but in the U.S. the topic of making the pill available to all women 18 and older has been an ongoing struggle. It has become just as much a political issue as public health concern.

10. Current methods and attitudes of women towards contraception in Europe and America (February 2013)

  • The Reproductive Health Journal published a study that looks at women’s reproductive health and accessibility to contraception in the U.K., Germany, Spain, and the U.S. It found that, across the board, women are generally aware of but do not have easy access to newer methods of contraception, something partly attributable to lack of information provided to patients by healthcare professionals.

11. Most Countries Offer the Pill – Reuters (January 2013)

12. Infographic depicts the worldwide accessibility of birth control with or without Rx (June 2014)