Birth Control

Over-the-Counter Birth Control Bill Provokes Irrational Ire on the Left

Subsidized birth control pills for some women shouldn't come at the expense of easing access restrictions for all.

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UC Irvine/Flickr

Making good on a campaign-season promise, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) last week announced a bill to spur action on oral contraception being sold without a prescription. The "Allowing Greater Access to Safe and Effective Contraception Act," co-sponsored by Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), would encourage birth-control pill manufacturers to file an application with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to sell products over-the-counter (OTC), as well as repeal the Affordable Care Act's restriction on using health savings accounts to buy non-prescription medication. The full text of the proposal has not yet been released. 

That hasn't stopped some from flipping out about the bill, however. "This bill is a sham and an insult to women," said Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards in a statement. "It would give women fewer birth control options and force women to pay twice for their birth control."

Jezebel blogger Stassa Edwards admits that "allowing [the pill] to be sold OTC would be a sizeable step in" the direction of expanding access. But "it seems like Gardner and Ayotte's proposal is a sneaky way to effectively end Obamacare's mandatory contraception coverage," she warns. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has previously advocated for OTC oral contraception. But ACOG President Mark S. DeFrancesco cautioned against Gardner and Ayotte's bill, stating that "instead of improving access, this bill would actually make more women have to pay for their birth control, and for some women, the cost would be prohibitive. 

A few thoughts … 

1. Subsidized is not synonymous with accessible. To suggest that making birth control pills available for purchase in more places and with less restrictions is to "give women fewer birth control options" insults the English language. What Richards et al. mean, behind this dishonest rhetoric of decreased access, is that the bill could sabotage the controversial Obamacare contraception mandate that requires health insurers to cover the full-cost of contraception. 

2. But the contraception mandate isn't going anywhere anyway. At least not because of Gardner and Ayotte's proposal. The fact that one pill manufacturer applies for over-the-counter status wouldn't mean all birth control pill manufacturers would then have to be sold so; there could and likely would still be prescription-only oral contraceptives. Besides, myriad other birth control methods—from hormonal implants to the (much longer-acting and more effective than the pill) IUD—would still be prescription only, and hence still "free" under the contraception mandate. There's also no reason to think the contraception mandate couldn't be stretched to require coverage for over-the-counter birth control also. Regardless of how it plays out—or how you feel about the mandate sticking around—there's no reason to think this bill would negate it. 

3. Subsidized contraception for some women shouldn't come at the expense of increasing access for all women. Making the pill available over-the-counter was, until recently, a cherished feminist goal, and one with backing from public-health advocates (70 percent of Americans back it too, according to a 2014 Reason-Rupe poll). Standard oral contraceptives are quite safe, and many women remain on the same pill for years (or decades), making the requirement that they see a doctor for a yearly permission slip unnecessary, if not insulting. [A longer case for the safety and sense behind OTC birth control here.] The annual doctor's visit also impedes birth control access in a number of ways.

Doctors appointments require wait times, travel, time off work, and money. These things may pose little problem for most of us, but what about women with inflexible or erratic work schedules? An immediate need for contraception? A need to hide contraception use from a violent partner? A (real or imagined) reason to avoid doctors? No health insurance? Women in poverty and precarious circumstances—i.e., those most vulnerable to the negative effects of unplanned pregnancies—are also those we dissuade most from contraception use by requiring an annual gynecologist visit.

The Affordable Care Act notwithstanding, there will always be women in the U.S. without health insurance, be it temporarily or chronically. Women in the country illegally. Women between jobs. Women under the control of some sort of abuser. Women living on the streets. Those recently divorced. Those in in the midst of mental health issues or addiction. Women who can't afford the premiums. Women whose lives have, for whatever reason, temporarily fallen into poverty or crisis. The contraception mandate saves these women absolutely nothing. Worse, backing it to the utter exclusion of OTC contraception literally prevents the most vulnerable women, or women in their most vulnerable periods, from having reliable and consistent contraceptive access.

Keeping birth control behind the counter keeps it entirely out of reach for some women. Is saving the relatively priveleged among us $5-$40 a month really worth that? 

Worse yet, critics like Richards and Edwards are cool with keeping birth control restricted under the mere possibility that it might undermine the contraception mandate—though, once more, there's no reason why it has to. Gardner and Ayotte's bill, from what we know about it, would simply make the process for switching birth control brands from prescription to over-the-counter status easier (by waiving the FDA filing and allowing priority review) and, should a drugmaker go for it, let women buy this birth control with funds from a health, medical, or flexible savings account.

If anything, the bill may provide too little incentive for drugmakers to act. "Drug companies that make the pill have never applied for OTC status, and there's zero reason to think they will start now just for a minor fee waiver and a promise that their applications will be read promptly," wrote Amanda Marcotte at Slate.

But I'm more optimistic—surely, some drugmaker looking to make its pill stand out will see opportunity in an over-the-counter market, and after that it's only a matter of time before some others follow suit. Uber, but for birth control, as they say—i.e., innovation in a long stagnant and status quo maketplace. Even if Gardner and Ayotte's bill is tepid, can we at least give them credit for trying? It's more than any Democratic lawmakers have done to allow for OTC contraception. And despite the protests of partisans and people who profit from prescription-only pills, freeing birth control from this would do way more to expand access than lowering the already-low cost of contraception for insured women. 

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  1. Not taking is giving and not giving is taking.

    So by not giving subsided birth control away for free, those evil Republicans are taking it away!

    1. Fuck these people and their FIGURATIVE VIOLENCE against the English language.

    2. Bartender! I’ll have a shot of bourbon, with a bourbon chaser. It’s still early.

      1. NOT LESBIAN IS UHAUL

        1. Tolerance not participles!

        2. Did you bring a toothbrush?

          1. Toothbrushes should be by prescription of a degreed, certified, and credentialed Doctor of Dentistryology only! Else we peons might hurt ourselves!!!

            1. shouldn’t insurance pay for toothbrushes? tooth decay is even less avoidable than pregnancy

  2. Subsidized is not synonymous with accessible.

    I suppose next you’ll be calling Sandra Fluke a slut.

    1. It’s all Handmaid’s Tale from here

      1. Did Nick give you permission to speak, Ofjacket?

    2. I dunno, maybe more whore than slut.

    3. No, she’s just a fluke.

      1. A Blood Fluke?
        http://www.parasitesinhumans.o…..lukes.html
        [shudder]

        If my name was Leach or Misquito, I’d avoid acting like one.

    4. People should stop calling her a slut and a whore. She’s a theif, and an unappologetic one. Everyone should appologise to sluts and whores for calling her that.

      1. Exactly.

    5. no need to restate the obvious

    6. I don’t care if she’s a slut. I just don’t want to pay for her choices.

  3. “Subsidized birth control pills for some women shouldn’t come at the expense of easing access restrictions for all.”

    That’s a great sentence.

    1. A better sentence would be: Subsidized birth control pills for some women shouldn’t come at the expense of easing access restrictions for all.

      1. True. But the original should be obviously right even to lefty feminist types.

      2. A better sentence would be: Subsidized birth control pills for some women shouldn’t come at the expense of easing access restrictions for all.

      3. “But bc pills ain’t subsidized. They’s FREE! The O sez so.”

  4. You not paying for my stuff means I can’t get it at all.

    /progderp

    1. I lost friends for pointing out that this was not, in fact, true.

      1. Sounds like you didn’t lose any “friends”.

        1. No, he lost “friends” as opposed to friends.

          Because nothing says “friendship” like demanding obeisance to your every view.

  5. Once again, we see that the fundamental lefty/proggy motivation is punishing their enemies.

    In this case, making birth control OTC removes their ability to punish their socon enemies by forcing them to buy birth control pills for their employees. The fact that making birth control OTC actually helps achieve their overt goal (making birth control more accessible) means nothing if it undermines their real goal of punishing their enemies.

    1. well, or the goal of making Republicans look bad and backward. Which admittedly, they often are! But credit where credit is due (a pox on both their houses, etc….)

      1. My guess is it’s a simpler political calculation. It’s a dumb, KULTUR WAR thing that they know they can get TEAM RED to go apeshit over. It’s the equivalent of shining a laser pointer around your cat: you know they’re going to drop everything and go chase it. And in the process, blunder around a lot and bang into furniture and basically look like an idiot.

        It’s not a terrible strategy. Partly because…it works.

        1. Are you saying conservatives will object to OTC birth control or this bill is making the progs go crazy and derpish as ENB is pointing out? This was discussed during the election and I do remember Gardner and other Repubs saying this should be the approach vs. subsidies by nuns, which I would think we all agree on.

          Oh, and I got triggered by some names in this article:

          Stassa – were her parents former East Germans
          ACOG – I need one of those for my AR15.

          1. ACOG – I need one of those for my AR15.

            Yes, you do.

      2. well, or the goal of making Republicans look bad and backward.

        Also “punishing their enemies”.

    2. The professsionally outraged are outraged, film at 11. (Trigger warning, there’s a micro-aggression in here somewhere.)

      1. The word “Trigger” microaggresses against equinophobes!

    3. In this case, making birth control OTC removes their ability to punish their socon enemies by forcing them to buy birth control pills for their employees.

      In this case it doesn’t even do that. The contraceptive mandate is still there. It simply gives them one more minor argument against the employer mandate.

      1. Minor?

        1. Yeah, I’ll stick with that. The major argument is that it is wrong to force employers to provide any specific benefits to their employees.

      2. The contraceptive mandate is still there.

        But the pills will cost less and you won’t need the Rx and doc visit, so it will save insurance companies a bit of money. That’s reason enough for them to oppose it.

        1. More importantly, it will cost the doctors revenue and the insurance companies their cut. That’s the real reason for Democrats to oppose it.

          1. True. Remember that the practice of medicine is a government enforced legal monopoly. The AMA was organized back in 1846(?) with the express purpose (like any labor union) to provide higher incomes for doctors through restrictions upon those who could practice.

            There was a supposed “objective” of better service to the patient, but this claim is also made by labor unions and professional organizations just as it was so claimed by the guilds during the Middle Ages. Restrictions upon who can supply goods or services goes back a long ways in history, and the consequence is always higher prices to the consumer.

    4. I missed this last night but catching up this morning.

      Yes, RC, that is exactly what I came here to say. In addition to punishing their enemies keeping BC prescription adds to the bureaucracy, red tape, and government monitoring that the left so fetishizes.

      Freedom and access are the opposite of what the evil bastards want.

    5. ah, you miss the point (although they DO like punishing their enemies).

      In the Socialist Paradise, everything belongs to the government (after all, government is simply the name we give to doing things together, lol).

      It is the responsibility of government to take care of you.

      It is necessary for government to pay for the things you NEED so that they can take care of you.

      You NEED to use birth control.

      OTC birth control is an attempt to allow you take care of yourself.

      SO, OTC birth control is a failure to take care of you.

      Got that?

      1. Don’t give them any more ideas, next thing you know, a prescription will be required for every purchase of every necessity… EBT on steroids and only government “stores.”

  6. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has previously advocated for OTC oral contraception.

    That was based on science, which I’m told is important.

    cautioned against Gardner and Ayotte’s bil

    but not that important.

  7. Keeping birth control behind the counter keeps it entirely out of reach for some women. Is saving the relatively priveleged among us $5-$40 a month really worth that?

    Yeah, the focus on this over such a tiny amount of money pretty much means that the stated reason is not the real reason. Because $40/month cannot explain how much of a plank this is for those pushing it.

    Doctors appointments require wait times, travel, time off work, and money.

    That’s the other thing. If the appointment costs money, even just a copay, that just ate heavily into the amount that was subsidized. So even more so, the idea that this is about “prohibitive birth control costs” is just a complete fucking load.

    1. Keeping birth control behind the counter keeps it entirely out of reach for some women.

      Cheaper and more accessible keeps it entirely out of reach for some women, compared to more expensive and less accessible?

    2. Maybe it’s just stupidity and /or cognitive dissonance. I know many women who feel obliged to support the ACA because “healthcare is good, duh!”, and they feel obliged to support the free contraception part because, hey, if they are going to be forced to pay through the nose for health insurance, they might as well get something out of it.

  8. The PPACA mandate ALREADY covers some OTC birth control (including Plan B). United Healthcare has a fact sheet on what they cover and it mentions OTC. And OTC doesn’t mean that you can’t get a prescription – plenty of health plans, including Medicaid, cover OTC drugs with a prescription. This would only add an option. Repealing the mandate requires repealing the mandate.

    The Planned Parenthood and other activist opposition is pretty crazy, and has to be at least mostly pure GOP hatred.

    1. No, OTC status is a slippery slope to them losing gatekeeper status. The last thing they want is people doing it for themselves.

      I also suspect the attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s restriction on using health savings accounts to buy non-prescription medication is much more of a thorn in the side of all progressives, for much the same reason.

      1. But didn’t they support Plan B OTC (with some nearly identical formulations still prescription-only?) Didn’t they support Plan B OTC even after the PPACA/Obamacare passed?

        Are they lobbying to make Plan B prescription-only now? If not, why not?

        1. Plan B is a single drop in the ocean of contraception qua contraception.

          Plan B was only important insofar as it was a weapon in the culture war, it was never about maximizing access to routine forms of birth control.

  9. Their objection proves one thing, Obamacare was not and is not about access to healthcare but government control of healthcare. OTC birth control eliminates a key plank in the Democrats war on women accusation against the GOP. The fact this proposal is from two GOP Senators only adds insult to injury. Progressives have never actually wanted to fix problems. They have always been more content to misrepresent the facts and exploit the gullibility of low info voters for political gain. This proposal forces them to put their money where their mouth is and that is why they are upset. Progressives only have one real goal, government control of every aspect of our lives. Practical solutions to problems negate the need for government control and is why they generally oppose these types of plans.

    1. “Obamacare was not and is not about access to healthcare but government control of healthcare…Progressives only have one real goal, government control of every aspect of our lives. Practical solutions to problems negate the need for government control and is why they generally oppose these types of plans.”

      I think you won the thread.

  10. Over-the-Counter Birth Control Bill Provokes Irrational Ire on the Left

    “How dare you spoil my narrative by seeking to free the market?”

  11. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has previously advocated for OTC oral contraception. But ACOG President Mark S. DeFrancesco cautioned against Gardner and Ayotte’s bill,…

    Looks like the left have FINALLY found a man they want involving himself in reproductive decisions of women.

    1. It’s never really about principles – it’s just ammunition in the culture wars.

      The only relevant distinction of otherwise identical ordnance being incoming vs. outgoing.

  12. It’s interesting that you can buy marijuana in Colorado over the counter but not birth control pills.

    The fact that most physicians wouldn’t write prescriptions for medical marijuana probably had something to do with that. If writing prescriptions for marijuana had been as common as writing prescriptions for birth control pills, I bet you’d have had a really hard time getting the FDA, the AMA, et. al. to sign off on marijuana legalization.

    It’s probably easier to get illegal narcotics legalized than it is to get government agencies to let go of their authority and the physicians’ union (or whatever you want to call the AMA) to let go of their money making prescription pads. Maybe feminists should support scheduling birth control pills as an illegal narcotic first. Then maybe they’ll become more freely available!

    1. Cartel. The AMA is a cartel, not a union. Just like AICPA.

      1. Run by a really tiny % of MDs I hear.

    2. True, but largely it had to do w marijuana’s being safer than drugs.

      1. We don’t have to pretend that driving on marijuana is safer than driving on birth control pills to want to see marijuana legalized coast to coast.

        Jesus, beware of Jane Fonda Syndrome!

        1. I was assuming proper labeling.

  13. meanwhile, AHRQ has new data out.

    Approximately one-fourth of U.S. health care expenses are incurred by 1 percent of the U.S. population, and half of expenses are incurred by 5 percent of the population. In contrast, half of the U.S. population incurs only 3 percent of total health care expenses.

    1. GOD DAMN THE 1%!

      Or, uh, something.

  14. I know it doesn’t seem like one thing has to do with the other, but this is why you’ll never win with these people on things like gun control.

  15. It seems to me that women are currently paying triple for birth control. You pay for the pills themselves. You also pay for the doctor visit to get a prescription. Then you pay for the cut that the insurance company takes to bill your doctor for a visit that is both routine and unnecessary.

    I guess the double-billing alluded to above refers to the birth control options that your insurance is required to cover as well as the pills you pay for yourself.

    Of course, if all of these costs are hidden in your insurance bill, then they are free. Now, I’m off to boost the economy by smashing windows.

    1. I suppose it’s probably an access problem for young girls, too.

      If I were 16 and I had a 17 year-old girlfriend, I’d think her being able to get birth control pills without a prescription (and without her parents knowing about it) would be the single most important political issue in the whole wide world.

      1. But 16 and 17 year olds don’t vote. Their parents do.

    2. You don’t pay for the pills anymore. They’re free at the point of sale, i.e., rolled into your insurance premium. Which is where the “double paying” idea comes from. Of course, it’s not like they sold “free” BC by saying, “you’ll just have the bill included in your monthly premium now!”

        1. Slut

          ( I heard it’s free )

          like birth control

    3. paying triple for birth control

      Quadruple, unless you get paid time off to go to the doc (oh, let’s not mention transportation costs).

  16. Translation from the Progressive; “He’s a Republican, so his ideas can’t possibly be any good, and it isn’t the way we imagined it, and dammit how dare he touch OUR issue!”

    Usual Proggie hysterical bullshit.

    Planned Parenthood should be shut down under the RICO act. I can’t imagine their books are in order, and we all know they play fast and loose with the truth.

    1. ^THIS^

      If this had been proposed by Pelosi or some other Democrat, the same people would be fawning over how wonderful an idea it was.

      To be fair, a bunch of R’s would also be blasting this if it had been proposed by a D.

      Team BS, pure and simple. Birth control belongs to the D’s and how dare they try to steal a march on them.

    2. Agreed. However, it’s odd that the Proggies defend the ACA as a Republican idea, as if that’s a reason we should all embrace it. But I should know better than to expect any consistency from their ilk.

  17. There’s also the fact that it’s, like, morally wrong to require a prescription for things.

    1. Like anyone gives a shit what a woman thinks about the availability of hormonal birth control taken by women.

      1. I said “things,” not just birth control!

        Dilaudid vending machines or GTFO.

        1. I’m down! (And out. Narcan vending machines right next to the dilaudid, hopefully…)

        2. Whatever. Next you bitches are going to think you have some sort of say in the abortion debate. Pfft.

    2. Did someone hear something? All I heard was this strange, high pitched squeaking.

    3. While for almost anything, I would agree. Hell, for even most drugs I would agree with you, but not some drugs such as anti-biotics. You do not want those things abused as they will become ineffective and new drugs will have to be found sooner.

  18. Huh. Here I thought ACOG was an optical device manufactured by Trijicon.

  19. A (real or imagined) reason to avoid doctors?

    Let me be clear, Elizabeth. All important decisions in a woman’s life should be made in consultation with her doctor. Because doctors know best, and totally aren’t deputized agents of the state or anything.

    1. I’m telling you, if there was some way to cause the healhcare system as we know it to evaporate away putting the people in charge of healthcare, ala the state in the Communist final solution, the left would be screaming the loudest.

  20. Hypothesis: birth control causes this.

    Discuss.

    1. Causes what? Fat women or terrible clothing choices?

      While I do think that there are plenty of good looking women who are plumper than the contemporary standards of attractiveness allow, those women are not among them.

      1. No one told them that horizontal stripes make them look fatter.

      2. Birth control makes fatties feel good about being fat fucks because…hormones.

    2. I thought birth control caused you. You know, as in…you battled past it to become what you are. Thoroughly disgusting.

      Charlie’s Mom: I had an abortion, but it just didn’t take.

      Charlie Kelly: What does that mean?

      Charlie’s Mom: You survived it. You survived the abortion!

    3. THOSE ARE MY FATTIES YOU RESPECT MY IP GOD DAMMIT

      1. I’ll take Stripey. You can have Cellulite Tattoo.

        1. I’ll take cellulite tattoo and give her a 1,000 calorie a day diet until you can drive a tractor through her thigh gap.

    4. Is that you in #9?

    5. Dude, c’mon.

      I mean… c’mon. Goddamn.

      1. NOT LOOKING IS LOOKING

        1. And eatin’ ain’t cheatin’!

          Oh wait, what are we talking about?

      1. Thank you Slammer, that cleansed my eyes right out.

    6. You know, not everyone is a model and is going to look great. But flaunting your faults is not the corrective for this.

      Thanks a lot, Warty. I am now going to have to re-watch all seven seasons of Mad Men in order to remember when people dressed to look nice instead of dressing to look ironically low class.

      1. Ironically?

  21. If the Jezebel harpies have got their granny panties in a twist over this, it must be a good thing.

  22. I’d love to see what they’d say if somebody ever managed to get a reliable affordable male birth control pill onto the market. I suspect the Jezebellians would go totally apeshit.

    1. Why? They are generally in favor of male BC.

      1. They’re in favor of removing the male from the equation of birth. Let’s put it that way.

      2. They are generally in favor of male BC.

        As long as its done surgically. And not that limp-wristed “vasectomy” thing, either.

        1. See, this is where the iron laws go wrong. That may be the logical conclusion of what they often demand. But none of them really want that. They want a big strong man like anyone else. You assume way to much logical consistency and that they actually mean and/or understand the shit that they say.

          1. I know, I know.

            Its so . . . manfair of me to take them at their word. The poor little things.

          2. Ha, very true. My wife is a progressive statist raised by two government school teachers.

            She ended up marrying a seven year Cavalry veteran who loves guns, alcohol, and death metal. I couldn’t be any further from empathetic hipster man child her parents had wished for her. I fucking live to breakdown and clean my FAL on their kitchen table.

            She dreams of being a 1950s house wife (sans children) constantly.

            The contradiction still hasn’t registered with her.

  23. I don’t see it as likely that the number of [A] (women who have access to insurance with adequately generous coverage for contraception but who also lack the means to afford contraception out of pocket) will be greater than the number of [B] (women who lack access to insurance, doctors or clinics, or who have access but fail to regularly use it).

    We know that number B is still large, since it includes very young women for whom it may be difficult to get such a prescription without jumping through hoops more awkward than a pharmacy (particularly an online pharmacy). We also know that overwhelmingly, women without insurance are less likely to go to a doctor for a host of reasons such as cost or inconvenience of doing so. I think we can assume that sex workers and immigrants are disproportionately part of group B rather than group A.

    This seems like a case of opposin any disruption to the traditional route to birth control for middle class women at the expense of creating of a new route to birth control for lower-income women.

    1. Yeah, pretty much says it. And all for the sake of political posturing.

  24. There’s also no reason to think the contraception mandate couldn’t be stretched to require coverage for over-the-counter birth control also

    Absolutely. Here’s what enormous insurer United Healthcare says about the mandate:

    The methods covered by the pharmacy benefit are hormonal (e.g. birth control pills), barrier (i.e. diaphragms), emergency contraceptives (i.e. “morning after” pills) and select
    over-the-counter (OTC) contraceptives. Contraceptives on our Preventive Care Medication List are covered at 100 percent when age- and gender-appropriate, prescribed by a health care professional and filled at a network pharmacy.

    At worst, they’d have to still get a prescription in order to have the insurance company support the claim. Post-PPACA, they’d need a prescription to put it on their HSA or FSA, whereas before people were trusted to make their own health decisions. (Thanks Obama!) Even so, for a lot of people it would be more convenient and cheaper to go to the pharmacy even if they had to pay the full OTC cost than to see a doctor first. That’s in normal cases; in situations where you go out of town and forget your pills, or you lose them it would be even more absurd to have to find a doctor.

  25. I am so poisoned against “women’s issues” that anytime I see anything dealing with the subject my first and final reaction is simply:

    Fuck Off!

  26. There are several possible legislative & non-legislative fixes here (not about the insurance issue, though):

    Congress could simply amend the FFDCA to make certain BCPs OTC. The FFDCA is full of one-off fixes like that for particular products (like saccharine) or narrow classes of products.

    States could license pharmacists (or anyone, really) to prescribe certain BCPs.

    Someone other than the maker of these drugs could sponsor the NDA (probably a ANDA) to make the Rx-to-OTC switch for one or more BCP products. The existing NDA would remain valid for prescription dispensing, but the new one would be approved alongside it.

    Someone could petition FDA to change the rules so as not to require prescriptions for certain BCPs. Or FDA could just have a rulemaking on its own initiative to accomplish the same.

    FDA could recognize the conclusion of an advisory panel that certain BCPs with certain labeling as OTC (& conforming to existing mfrs.’ bioavailability data) are “generally recognized as safe & effective”, hence no longer “new drugs”. Which is practically the same as the new rulemaking, but legally distinct.

  27. A need to hide contraception use from a violent partner?

    Why do lesbians need birth control?

    1. rape is very common these days I hear

  28. Interesting, I just realized that the Fundamental Constitutional Right to Birth Control (it’s in the penumbras) is the only “constitutional right” which requires a doctor’s prescription.

    1. Interesting observation.

      Wasn’t the original Griswold case about condoms, though?

      1. Perhaps, but the reasoning applies to all forms of birth control.

  29. I think people are missing an angle here: The fact that single healthy young women are getting slammed by ObamaCare insurance premiums as much as the men are. But the women can at least say they got some free BTC out of it. And young single women are a huge Democratic client constituency. So this issue is as much about keeping them from revolting over the price of health insurance as it is about access to contraception. I’m sure there are a lot of women who are like “WTF! I’m paying $120/month for insurance, at least I should get some pills for it!!!”

    Which of course is bullshit, cause the men aren’t getting naything out of it, but it becomes a useful wedge issue for women.

    So, what the Republicans REALLY should be doing is focusing on the premium rates for young single people and how they are disproportionate to the relative risk.

    1. “But I still get my free birth control, right? I mean, you won’t let the Republicans take it away from me?”

    2. Too bad the Republicans are stupid.

  30. We could make it free but wouldn’t that disparage people who couldn’t afford it if it weren’t free? Seems like an imputed benefit for the evil middle class.

    1. Nothing is free, and you can’t make it so. No matter what it is, someone, somewhere is paying for it.

  31. Silly rabbits. It’s not about “birth control” it’s about “control.”

  32. I take Nexium and can get it in either OTC strength (20mg) or prescription strength (40mg). The prescription strength is something like 5 times the price for the equivalent amount of medicine (2 x 20mg capsules). The pharmacist and I both just shook our heads when he checked the price. I just take two of the OTC. Done. I imagine that if your healthcare expenses are high enough and you’ve reached maximum out-of-pocket or something, there’s a situation in which prescription would make sense(?), but I’m not sure what that would be. There are probably government-subsidized Medicaid plans or something that let people use my tax money for their overpriced Nexium, otherwise nobody would ever bother. I haven’t tried to follow the money trail and see who’s benefiting. I just know it’s not me.

    In all probability birth control pills are more expensive by prescription than they would be OTC, and they’re pretty darn cheap by prescription. The fact is, it’s an expense virtually anyone can afford. And if you can’t afford it, there are places that hand out free condoms by the handful.

    There’s literally a website that helps you find free condoms:

    http://www.condomfinder.org/find.php

  33. Interesting that a movement so intolerant of diverse viewpoints, would be intolerant on this issue as well. I can’t remember when I’ve heard the movement advocate for groups of women you speak for in this article, Elizabeth. The argument for requiring a prescription is weak for many medications, especially so for birth control pills. We want to do away with permission slips, no matter what form they take.

    Another interesting element of the movement’s opposition is the idea that the ACA is a sacred victory, fairly won on the battlefield with not an inch to be conceded now that the law is in place. In fact, the law is a travesty of fairness and common sense, and huge portions of it have already disintegrated. No amount of defensive ‘war on women’ rhetoric can disguise how bad this legislation is. The sooner the rest of the structure falls away, the better. Keep chipping away, by whatever means.

  34. This article only talked about women. Sexist. What about men’s access to birth control? Maybe they want it over the counter too!

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  37. and then there’s the simplest reason. the left can’t let a bunch of republicans take credit for doing something that is theirs. i mean, teams were chosen, and this would be like them substituting the lefts best hitter into their lineup. therefore the only moral thing to do is oppose something they basically agree with in principle. god bless america!

  38. Do you know what’s a sham and an insult to women?

    Obama’s war on women who smoke weed and Hillary Clinton and E Warren’s support for the war on women who smoke weed.

  39. Probably already been said – but doesn’t this kind of prove that “access to birth control” wasn’t the goal at all. Rather, subsidization of birth control was.

    I vaguely remember the Republicans in 2012 voted to have BC available over the counter, but Mr. Obama and the Dems killed that…not long before Ms. Fluke made headlines. Subsidization/socialization (and thus power) is the goal, not access or civil liberties.

    Maybe regarding anything from now on, we should just have the mantra “Never trust a Socialist” or “Don’t trust a Marxist”?

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  41. How could doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies make so much money if people could simply buy generic drugs over the counter?

    In a rational world, for most problems, you’d pick up 100 generic pills for $5 off the shelf, for some medical problem you know and understand.

    Under our system, for most problems, you need to see a doctor, get a prescription, see a pharmacist, pick up a bottle of pills, and probably come in for a follow-up. These people then send their inflated bills to your insurance company, which effectively makes sure that your entire $1000/month health tax is distributed among them, minus a big cut for themselves, of course.

    And since people never see the bills or money sloshing around, they don’t protest and assume it all has to be this way.

    In different words, if you supported the ACA, it makes perfect sense that you would oppose making drugs over the counter, because that would hurt both the people who lobbied for it and might actually result in cost awareness and cost control.

  42. “It would…force women to pay twice for their birth control.”

    Forcing men to pay once for birth control they can’t use is perfectly ok, though.

  43. You have to ask yourself, why are we having this ridiculous conversation in 2015 about birth control ? There is something inanely sinister how they dangle this fundamental right of all women
    to receive birth control if they so choose. It isn’t just the money–it has never been just about the money. If it was, it wouldn’t be an issue at this late development in our advancement as a species.
    We’re seeing a resurgence in AIDS amongst drug users, we’re always going to have to keep a deligent eye on EBOLA, the west is have a catastropic water shortage, poverty is still prevalent in this country, and mother nature is wrecking havoc again this year. Do we really have to keep making birth control a perennial issue to scare women into what –pray tell ?
    Thanks Elizabeth, so many women are not aware how their basic health rights are constantly eroding year after year.

  44. Forgive my ignorance, but for libertarian reasons, I moved to Mexico 25 years ago, and my last visit to USA was 2008. What do birth-control pills cost? Here in Mexico, they are VERY cheap, as is all medical/dental care. Free enterprise and competition makes some doctor visits cost as little as $2.

    What is a typical months bc pills cost?

  45. You know, this narrative only works when you ignore the competing, democrat sponsored bill which
    a) makes the pill OTC available without prescription
    AND
    b) maintains insurance coverage for the pill

    The idea that you have to choose between women without insurance or women without disposable income is a false one. But please, keep going on about the left being hypocrites, I know you enjoy that more.

  46. Keeping a drug “prescription” allows higher prices and also puts money in doctors’ pocket in the form of office fees. Making a drug OTC encourages lower prices (due to competition in a free market) and eliminates the doctor’s profitable legal monopoly over the drug.

    Those interested might want to visit my blog on WordPress. Type in my user name (muskegonlibertarian) and read what I’ve written.

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