Friday, January 2, 2009

Over the Counter Birth Control?

Via Feministe, (I'm also several weeks behind on this) England is experimenting with distributing non-prescription birth control. Many other countries distribute birth control pills over the counter, including Australia and Brazil, but here in America, some of the leading voices that protest the move to over-the-counter, are women's health advocates. It's something I never really thought about before because here women having to go to the doctor for hormonal birth control pills is Just The Way It Is.

Many young women, however, are afraid of having a visit with a gynecologist appear on their parents' insurance and risk sex without birth control (sometimes even without condoms, but that's a separate issue). I agree that it's a worry that women won't visit doctors as much if birth control is available over the counter, but men often go years without going to the doctor. Women should still be encouraged to visit the doctor regularly -- especially for STD testing, but hormonal birth control is a medication that's been around much longer than many other over-the-counter drugs. Perhaps it's time to subject it to the natural evolution of medication.

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