NEW ORLEANS — The first oral contraceptive also known as the pill was approved in 1960, according to Planned Parenthood, by 1965, one out of every four married women in America under 45 had used the pill. By 1967, nearly 13 million women in the world were using it. Today more than 100 million women use the pill. 62 years later, women could soon buy the pill over the counter.
Pharmaceutical company, HRA Pharma submitted an application Monday asking the FDA for approval to sell a birth control pill over the counter.
Pearl Ricks, Executive Director at Reproductive Justice Action Collective, an organization which works to ensure all New Orleanians have access to reproductive healthcare, said people can go to the pharmacy for headache medication, the same access should be extended to reproductive health.
“People need to have that access without obstacles,” Ricks said
Ricks went on to say, “What it would do is usher in a world where people are in more control of their reproductive rights, of their bodies. It would allow another layer of protection in terms of not getting pregnant.”
“The need for an FDA over the counter approved birth control pill, has been known throughout many different industries in the U.S.”
According to Planned Parenthood, maternal and infant health improved dramatically once the pill was approved. The organization found between 1961–1965, 20% of births to married women in the U.S. were unwanted. By 2006-2010 that percentage dropped to 8.9 %, overall a 56% reduction.
LSU Legal professor Lisa Avalos said lawmakers have shown no indication of blocking access to birth control, Professor Avalos saying, “The trigger law that goes into effect August 1st specifically says it does not have anything to do with contraception, it does not have anything to do with emergency contraception.”
Professor Avalos said an over the counter alternative will eliminate doctors’ bills, saying, “You’re not about having to go through your doctor, you're not worried about whether your health insurance is going to cover it. You can simply go to Walgreens or CVS and buy oral contraception.”
An FDA approval could come next year and would only apply to HRA’s pill.