It’s time birth control goes over the counter

Gabby Felitto, Opinion Editor

It was last August whenI realized that I only had one more pack of birth control pills left. 

Unfortunately instead of being able to go to the store to pick up a new packet, I would need to see my gynecologist.

I would have to make an appointment, just to get my prescription renewed.

 By the time I realized I only had a singular pack left, I had about two weeks to make an appointment before going back to school, but to my surprise, they were booked. Now I needed to wait until I went back home. 

Birth controls pills should be available over the counter so those with uteruses don’t have to jump through hurdles, like making appointments, to get the pills that help them get through their periods, especially when they know the type of pills they have works for them.  

Luckily for me, I was able to find two packs that I left at school after spring break, that would get me through till november, but I shouldn’t have had to scavenge my room in order to find the pills that I need.

It’s crazy that I can’t go into a CVS and simply pick up my pills like I can with Tylenol. It is about time birth control pills are available over the counter.

For as long as I can remember, I have always had painful periods. I’ve had cramps that have kept me in bed, twisting and turning trying to get comfortable. I’ve felt like an elephant was stepping on my back. I’ve been in so much pain that I’ve thrown up. 

Periods are not a very pretty thing. They have to be one of the most inconvenient things that so many people with uteruses have to go through. But, there is one thing that can help us. Birth control. 

Birth control pills have truly been my savior. After beginning to take them a year ago, I no longer felt pain. 

I haven’t thrown up this whole year and my periods have been shorter. These tiny little pills really changed my life until I realized I would have to refill my prescription. 

Making birth control pills available over-the-counter would make getting them much more accessible to many more people. Having an over the counter system put in place would mean that all women, regardless of whether or not they have access to a doctor or clinic, would be able get the pills they need, according to a 2015 journal article from the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law. 

One major concern of making birth control over the counter is that insurance companies will stop covering them. While this is something to consider, if birth control pills are offered over the counter, the prices of the pills will most likely fall, just like many other pills that have gone over the counter.  

For example, when the anti-heartburn medication, omeprazole, went over the counter, the price fell by about half, from $4.20 to $2.35, according to a Jan. 27 article from CATO. In addition, when pills are offered over the counter, their prices often fall below what many insured patients pay in copays. 

According to a 2016 survey asking about the barriers to contraception access published in the Journal of Womens Health, “women cited such obstacles as scheduling and getting to their appointments twice as often as they cited difficulty paying for the visit or the prescription”.

A doctor’s appointment could potentially cost about $200. Being charged $200 simply for an appointment to refill your prescription is incredibly frustrating. 

While there are more convenient birth control websites to buy from, like Simple Health, to get online prescriptions and refills, if I’m able to buy them from an online source, I should be able to buy them from a pharmacist at CVS. 

I understand that it’s important to go to the gynecologist and that you should be able to talk to a professional about what’s best for your body, but I and so many others have already found what works for them. 

I am already inconvenienced by my uterus shedding every month. I don’t want to be inconvenienced further by having to jump through hurdles to get the pills that make this more bearable.