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Birth control available over the counter? The debate on contraception — its availability and coverage — is never-ending, and now one expert panel of doctors recommends that birth control pills be made available without a prescription. This expert opinion comes with the belief that the benefits of over-the-counter pills will outweigh the risks and hopefully lower the rate of unplanned pregnancies.

ABC News reports that according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' Committee on Gynecologic Practice (ACOG) nearly half of all pregnancies in America are not planned — that’s a lot of oopsies! And a 2004 survey cited by the same committee found that almost half of all uninsured women would be more likely to use the pill if it were available over the counter.

Dr. Kavita Nanda, a physician and member ACOG tells ABC News, “Access to and cost issues are common reasons why women do not use contraception or use it inconsistently.” Oral contraception is 92-99% effective in preventing pregnancies when taken properly. According to Dr. Donnica Moore, a physician and women’s health advocate, the side-effects from birth control are not much different than taking Tylenol or Aspirin, so women should be able to self-screen for the more serious risk factors.

But not all doctors are ready to start stocking the shelves.  One concern is that making the pill so readily available may lead cause health insurance to stop covering it, meaning women would have to pocket the cost and it can end up costing a pretty penny — up to $95 a per pack!

While there are still many steps along the path to making BC (birth control) OTC (over the counter), the conversation has started.

What do you think? Does over the counter oral contraception make you excited or a little nervous?

Source: ABC News

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