Birth control can be defined as using any form of a contraceptive to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Some of the most effective forms of birth control include, the birth control pill, shot, patch, male and female condoms, and IUDs.
It’s important women talk to their doctor to learn about which type of birth control method is best for them. Everyone’s bodies are different, so the same method will not work for every single person. Over the last several years, making birth control pills available over the counter has been argued in many states all over the country. A few states have allowed pharmacies to sell birth control pills to women who come in, because they see no harm is giving women an easier way to get birth control. Other states see the risks and health issues involved when women aren’t given a proper medical screening before.
Even though some states allow birth control pills to be sold over the counter, the pills should not be allowed to women without a prescription and a doctor’s visit. Birth control pills should not be sold over the counter because doctors would not be able to advise women properly about which form of contraceptives is best for them, besides just taking the pill. It’s possible that the pill may not be the best form of birth control for all women, so it’s important for women who are thinking of using birth control to discuss any concerns they may have with their doctor. Fraser writes, “It appears that if you take the Pill for five years or more before you get pregnant, you slightly increase your risk of breast cancer at a young age.” (“Should Birth Control Pills”).
This is an example of one of the concerns that many women have from taking the pill. Women who have too many worries about the Pill may be advised to look into a different type of contraception. Some women may have underlying health issues that they do not know about. A trip to the doctor, before being prescribed the pill, is helpful in letting women know about concerns their doctors have for them too. An oral contraception isn’t always the best choice for any woman with major health issues. Trussell explains, “First, women’s health might be imperiled because some women who have conditions that preclude the use of oral contraceptives or who later develop medical contraindications, and because some women would cease to have regular gynecological exams.” (1095).
Selling birth control pills over the counter doesn’t only cause doctors to lose the chance to talk to women about which form of contraception is best for them, it also lose the chance to advise women about proper health education in general. If birth control pills were sold over the counter, doctors would lose the chance to provide women with proper health education during annual examinations, where women normally get their refills at. At an annual exam, doctors provide women general information about their current health, the patient is also normally given a pap smear and a blood pressure check.
If women were able to buy birth control over the counter, then there would be no reason for them to visit their doctor regularly to get their refills. There are a few things doctors worry about women not knowing. Minkin writes, “Birth control pills do not prevent sexually transmitted diseases. If you’re sexually active, the most reliable way to do that is to also use a condom.” (“Talk To The Doctor”). There are many things that women don’t know about their bodies. Minkin also writes, “Many women make fluid-filled cysts while they ovulate. Some of these cysts can rupture, causing severe pain.
” (“Talk To The Doctor”). Many women will miss the opportunity to learn important facts about their body that they could be missing. They will also miss the opportunity to discuss differences occurring in their bodies that could lead to bigger problems in the end.
Trussell explains, “The broadest defense of prescription status is that it ensures regular health examinations, which in turn detect problems unrelated to the use of oral contraceptives.” (1095). If women stopped visiting their doctor regularly, their doctors would never have the chance to perform a proper medical screening,Without a proper medical screening, there can be many side effects which can occur in women who take the pill that, who should not be taking it. Minkin states, “There are some women who should never take birth control pills. This would includes those who smoke cigarettes, have a personal or strong family history of strokes or blood clots, have a personal history of breast cancer, or have active liver disease or hepatitis.
” (“Talk To The Doctor”). Although birth control pills contain several health benefits, it’s important to recognize the potential risks. A trip to the doctor, instead of the pharmacy, is necessary because the pharmacy is not equipped with all of the proper tools needed for a successful examine. Blank writes, “Pharmacists fully recognize that we are not the diagnosis experts.” (41).
Birth control is not well managed over the counter, because of the potential health risks involved. Blank goes on to explain these risks, “I don’t think a patient who was one of the few to experience some of the more severe side effects would be able to recognize this quickly if there were no healthcare provider associated with accessing this medication and providing counseling on severe side effects.” (41). Some examples of severe side effects that could come up are bloods clots and pulmonary embolism.
Besides from not having a proper medical screening, another thing doctors are worried about is women taking the pill wrong.Experts are worried if birth control pills were sold over the counter, women would use the pill incorrectly. Fraser writes, “Women need face-to-face discussion about how to use the pill. They need to be told that if they take certain antibiotics or vomit frequently, birth control pills are less effective. They need to understand that you can’t take fewer pills just because you’re having sex less often.” (“Should Birth Control Pills”). In order for the pill to work correctly and safely, it’s important for a woman to make sure she is taking all safety precautions.
Oral contraceptives, or any other type of drug and medicine, are dangerous unless used exactly how a doctor has instructed. Grimes writes, “Five died from antidiabetic agents and one from adrenal cortical steroids. Six died from penicillin. Four died accidentally from analgesics, antipyretics, and antirheumatics.” (1092).
People have misused pills and other forms of medications and drugs on different occasions over the last several years. Trussell explains, “Efficacy during typical use might decline and the risk of unintended pregnancy would consequently rise because women would be more likely to use oral contraceptives imperfectly without clinical counseling.” (1095). Misusing the birth control pill comes with serious consequences. Although healthcare professionals are worried about women misusing the birth control pill, another worry that more than just doctors having for their patients is the cost of the pill if insurance no longer covered it. Insurance may not cover the cost of birth control if the pills were sold over the counter.
Fraser explains, “Then there’s the cost issue. For women who pay for the Pill out of pocket now, an over-the-counter version could be good, because the price might drop. But for women whose insurers or for whom federal subsidies pay for prescription birth control pills, this would be unmitigatedly bad. They’d be forced to pay for OTC pills themselves, and many simply couldn’t.” (“Should Birth Control Pills”). Instead of already paying for their birth control out of their pockets, the majority of women reply on their insurance to help cover the costs. Blank goes on to explain this more, “I also am not in support of OTC birth control because I believe this will likely cause another barrier in access: lack of insurance coverage. Prescription insurance does not require coverage of OTC medications, and in my experience, maybe 5% of the time are these covered by insurance companies.
So the work that was done by the ACA to increase access through a lack of copays would be negated.” (41). Lack of insurance coverage is one of the major reasons why many are against making birth control available to purchase over the counter in pharmacies. It’s important to realize the downsides of making birth control pills easier to access by selling them over the counter. There will be many medical downfalls, because doctors will not be able to talk directly to women who are thinking about taking the pill, or women who have any concerns. Misusing the pill can cause severe side effects that most are unaware about.
It’s rare for a women to know everything about the pill herself without getting information from her doctor. One of the major inconveniences in allowing the birth control pill to be sold over the counter would be the lack of insurance by companies. This can be a major problem for women who misuse the pill, because not only will they have to find the money to pay for their birth control, but they will also have doctor bills when they are sent to the doctor for severe side effects and other health related issues which come with misuse of the pill. In conclusion, it is best if birth control pills were not made available for purchase over the counter in pharmacies.