Women aren't stupid*, but the Food and Drug Administration treats them like they are. The contraceptive pill has been on the market for 50 years, but women still have to go begging every year to their doctors and every month to the pharmacist behind the high counter.
An op-ed in yesterday's The New York Times makes the case for letting the pill go free, in celebration of a big anniversary:
The pill meets F.D.A. criteria for over-the-counter medications. Women don’t need a doctor to tell them whether they need the pill — they know when they are sexually active and want to avoid pregnancy. Pill instructions are easy to follow: Take one each day. There’s no chance of becoming addicted. Taking too many will make you nauseated, but won’t endanger your life, in contrast to some over-the-counter drugs, like analgesics. (There are even side benefits to taking the pill, like reduced risks of ovarian and uterine cancer.)...
Women don’t need a doctor to tell them if they need cold medicine or condoms, and they shouldn’t need a doctor’s permission to take the pill. Over-the-counter sales would expand access to safe, effective contraception, and help women take control over their sexual and reproductive lives.
I wrote about the first Pill, and the men who loved it, here.
* Be strong commenters. Resist the bait.