Analysis

Two states to allow birth control pills over-the-counter, one to minors

birth-control-pill

Planned Parenthood is praising California and Oregon, where women will soon be able to have a brief consult with a pharmacist and walk out with hormonal contraception. And in California, even a 12-year-old could theoretically walk in and buy birth control. Oregon will require women to be 18, or to show a previous prescription if they are under 18.

While California’s law passed in 2013, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed a bill into law only last week, USA Today reports. They will be the first states to allow contraception without prescription.

And Planned Parenthood rejoiced. Kathy Kneer, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, said:

We support efforts like these that remove barriers to women gaining access to birth control and other reproductive health care [hormonal contraception is] so safe that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has recommended that it be available over the counter.

The laws won’t make obtaining contraception as simple as Advil, but they will likely only require a basic screening, blood pressure check, and other minor vetting pharmacists can do. The California law should take effect in October, and Oregon in January.

Both states are demonstrating a dangerous precedent with these laws, however. Hormonal contraception, which includes but is not limited to the pill, is a dangerous drug with some troubling side effects.

The latest study showing the dangerous side effects of this type of contraception came out just this year. The Huffington Post reports:

Women who take a newer version of birth control pills have a doubled risk of developing potentially fatal blood clots, according to a new study published in the British medical journal BMJ.

But even the older versions of these pills hold an increased risk for blot clots, experts say.

The Mayo Clinic also has a list of troubling side effects from the pill, the most common hormonal contraception.

Additionally, Time reported this year that researchers “found that women taking hormonal contraceptives — those containing estrogen, progestin or a combination of both — showed higher rates of a rare brain tumor known as glioma.”

The American Life League’s The Pill Kills project shows the medical dangers of the birth control pill.  This list of frightening side effects contains footnotes with medical citations for these side effects, and they are troubling – certainly so much that it would seem negligent to offer such a complicated drug with no medical exam or physician follow ups. Additionally, The Pill Kills reminds readers that the pill can actually act as an abortifacient:

In 1965, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists arbitrarily changed the definition of pregnancy to sidestep the reality of contraceptives causing pre-implantation abortions. It is a basic fact of biology that, in sexual reproduction, a unique human being is created at the moment that sperm penetrates an ovum. ACOG changed the definition of pregnancy from fertilization to the time of implantation in its very first terminology bulletin in September 1965 to accommodate pre-implantation abortions caused by contraceptives. That enables proponents of the pill to falsely claim that it does not cause abortions.

In light of the overwhelming medical evidence that hormonal contraception creates an increased risk and danger to women, it is an irresponsible and negligent act to reduce the medical oversight on dispensing these medications. Particularly concerning is California where there is not even an age restriction to purchasing a dangerous drug. It is a travesty of medical justice for women to be presented a drug with so many serious side effects as something as normalized as Advil. With the increased dispensing of a dangerous drug will only come increased danger.

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