Birth Control

Over-the-Counter Contraception Is Immensely Popular. But Democrats Have Doomed It.

In 2019, it's liberals, not conservatives, who are holding the pill hostage for political gain.

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Ingram Publishing/Newscom

If you live in the United States, you can't obtain birth control pills without a prescription from a doctor. This federal requirement means that the roughly 10.6 million American women on oral contraception must accept regular, invasive, and unnecessary medical care as part of preventing pregnancy.

When the pill first came to the U.S. in 1960, such prescription-only status made some sense. Medical professionals were uncertain how many women would react physiologically. And hormone levels in the first commercially available brand were incredibly high—10,000 micrograms progestin and 50–150 micrograms estrogen, compared to 50–150 micrograms progestin and 20–50 micrograms estrogen on average recently.

But in the nearly 60 years since then, pill formulations have become at least as benign as your average drugstore-aisle offering. Decades of research favors the idea that over-the-counter (OTC) oral contraceptives are safe. They're sold without a prescription in nations across the world, and high-dose emergency contraception has been sold over-the-counter in the U.S. for years. Safety isn't the issue.

Nor is there an obvious political impediment. Republicans believe (at least sporadically) in individual rights and deregulation, and a number of GOP lawmakers have recently supported ending the prescription requirement. Democrats often wax on about a woman's right to take control of her reproductive destiny, and in the past many have pushed for freeing the pill, too. So legalizing OTC contraception should represent common policy ground.

Yet the prescription requirement remains on the books. Why?

For years, blame could be cast on the traditional villains of progressive politics: social conservatives who opposed the pill, the Bible thumpers in the Republican Party who pandered to them, and drug companies with no incentive to do anything that might puncture their profits.

But recently, thanks to Obamacare, Democrats have become the primary impediment to freeing up rules around the sale of contraception. In 2019, it's liberals, not conservatives, who are holding the pill hostage for political gain.

The Case for OTC Contraception

America's paternalistic gatekeeping to contraceptive access is not supported by medical evidence, influential health care groups, or popular opinion.

To put America's prescription rule in context, consider how uncommon it is internationally. Out of 147 countries, the U.S. is among just 45 where a prescription is necessary to obtain birth control pills, according to a study from Daniel Grossman of Ibis Reproductive Health. Polling consistently shows that women favor over-the-counter access. A 2017 survey by the Kaiser Health Foundation found three quarters of women of reproductive age supported "making oral contraceptives available over the counter if the FDA said it was safe and effective."

That support may be especially high among women who previously had an unintended pregnancy or abortion, suggesting that OTC pills could be quite effective in reducing unintended pregnancies.

A 2014 survey from UCSF's Bixby Center focused on members of that group, finding that all but 19 percent were in favor of making birth control pills prescription-free. Only 42 percent said they planned to go on the pill soon, but 61 percent said they would if they could get it over the counter. And around a third of women "who planned to use no contraceptive following their abortion said they would use an over-the-counter pill, as did 38% who planned to use condoms afterward," note the study authors in Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health.

Studies also show that women and teens can effectively self-screen for contraindications to hormonal birth control, that they're prone to err on the side of caution concerning any gray areas, and that doctors aren't always reliable prescribers anyway. Birth control "recommendations of family medicine physicians were found to be inconsistent with CDC guidelines 23% of the time for oral contraceptives (OCs) and 40% of the time for intrauterine devices (IUDs)," according to one study from 2003–06.

Yet under the current status quo, obtaining birth control generally requires a specialized doctor's visit and fee plus a separate trip to the pharmacy, as well as a spate of unrelated tests, since doctors have long made cervical cancer testing and other invasive vaginal examinations a condition of getting contraception. Women must return to the doctor every year or two to maintain the prescription and, in many cases, are barred from obtaining more than a three-month supply of pills at a time.

As a result, a significant number of U.S. women report difficulties in obtaining prescription birth control. A 2016 study found that among U.S. women who had tried to get or refill a prescription, nearly one-third ran into trouble. (Ten years earlier, only one-fourth of women had trouble, according to a 2006 study published in the journal Contraception.) Uninsured women, Spanish-speaking women, and women with less than a high-school education were the most likely to report issues.

"Difficulties included cost barriers or lack of insurance (14%), challenges obtaining an appointment or getting to a clinic (13%), the clinician requiring a clinic visit, exam, or Pap smear (13%), not having a regular doctor/clinic (10%), difficulty accessing a pharmacy (4%), and other reasons (4%)," notes Ibis Reproductive Health.

Affordability presented an obstacle to medical care for about one-quarter of women in the 2017 Kaiser survey. But it was far from the only barrier, with roughly similar percentages citing a lack of time in general or inability to get time off work, and 14 percent citing unreliable transportation or issues with child care.

As these surveys make clear, insurance coverage alone—even coverage that makes pills themselves "free"—is an insufficient condition for expanding birth control access. That's why women's rights advocates have long supported lifting restrictions on access to contraception—a notion that conservatives traditionally opposed.

When Deregulating Contraception Was a Liberal Priority

As recently as a decade ago, it seemed unthinkable that conservatives would ever support over-the-counter access to oral contraception. Despite its appeal to a broad swath of medical professionals and American women on both sides of the partisan divide, the right was dug in.

Democrats' support for selling emergency contraception without a prescription was used in campaigns to smear them as being in favor of minors having sex. Scienceblogs.com ran headlines like "Why the wingnuts hate Plan B." A controversy over whether pharmacists should have the freedom not to fill emergency contraception prescriptions raged. In 2005, at the peak of the emergency contraception debate, the head of the Food and Drug Administration's Office of Women's Health resigned because of how the agency was handling the issue.

But a yearslong fight over the "Plan B" pill exhausted culture-war passions for the issue. Ironically, it was the GOP's effort to maintain abortion restrictions that paved the way for the party to come around on expanding contraception access.

Throughout the George W. Bush presidency and into the Obama administration, fighting for freer contraception was a mainstream liberal priority. During the first dozen or so years of this century, prominent left-of-center groups and lawmakers campaigned hard to get a form of hormonal contraception approved for nonprescription sale.

In November of 2005, NARAL Pro-Choice America, one of the country's most prominent reproductive rights groups, sent out an email complaining that "Despite widespread scientific support, the FDA has repeatedly delayed an application to make the morning-after pill available over the counter." NARAL was pushing a petition from Democratic Sens. Hillary Clinton and Patty Murray, who had urged the FDA to stop stalling and threatening to block then–President Bush's pick to lead the agency until the situation was resolved.

The so-called "morning after pill"—now generally referred to as emergency contraception (E.C.)—can be taken up to several days after sex to prevent pregnancy. Like the daily pills in widespread use by many American women, E.C. interferes with conception by halting ovulation or, if an egg has already dropped, by stopping sperm from getting to it.

Emergency contraception was a cultural flashpoint for more than a decade following the 1999 FDA approval of "Plan B," the brand name E.C. pill, for prescription use. Many religious groups opposed it on the grounds that it could theoretically cause an already-fertilized egg not to implant, rather than just blocking the fertilization of the egg in the first place—making it an "abortifacient." Other conservatives fretted that it could encourage risky sex. Some conservative physicians resisted prescribing it. So it wasn't much of a surprise when a 2003 application to move Plan B to over-the-counter status ran into political resistance.

Yet liberals maintained a steady campaign to change this, and by the end of 2006, Plan B was being sold prescription-free here. At first, sales were from behind a pharmacy counter and only to women ages 18 and up. But after a few rounds of court battles, Plan B became available for nonprescription purchase by women 17 and older, then 16, then 15, and then without point-of-sale restrictions. Finally, in February 2014, the FDA approved unrestricted OTC sale of the generic version of the pills.

Throughout the ruckus about emergency contraception, both the evidence and the political coalition for making regular birth control pills available over the counter was growing. It seemed inevitable that conventional oral contraception—"the pill" three generations of women had been safely taking—would follow the same path as E.C.

Republicans for Contraceptive Access

Under President Barack Obama, the GOP started to talk about birth control pills again. But this time, many sounded a lot like their Democratic counterparts had a few years earlier. Suddenly, it was Republicans—both men and women—who were pushing for easier access to the pill.

In January 2013, Republican Barbara Comstock, then a state representative, and 13 other Virginia lawmakers petitioned Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to make birth control pills non-prescription. "This is a reform that makes sense, and the Obama administration could quickly move on with bipartisan support," they wrote.

Not long after, a group of male Republicans, including Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner and former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, also embraced over-the-counter sale. Gardner and former Rep. Mia Love (R–Utah) would go on to sponsor bills meant to kickstart the process.

By the time the 2016 presidential campaign was underway, Republican candidates from Carly Fiorina to Donald Trump were endorsing OTC birth control, with Trump declaring just weeks before the election, "It should not be a prescription."

You might think that would have settled the issue. But just as Republicans were changing their tune, prominent Democrats and groups such as Planned Parenthood started arguing against the idea.

Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, called Republican endorsements of over-the-counter birth control "a cheap ploy by politicians seeking to distract from their anti-choice records."

"We have to be very careful not to put political pressure on the FDA without going through the regular process," Sen. Murray said, slamming GOP politicians who were pushing for OTC access.

Some flip-flopping can be attributed to simple partisan posturing. Democrats had become comfortable with the Republicans-hate-people-having-sex narrative and weren't about to abandon that playbook. But something else had clearly changed.

That something was the contraception mandate contained in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the health law enacted in 2010 and colloquially known as Obamacare.

Under the ACA, insurance companies are required to cover certain preventative healthcare services without passing on any upfront costs to the insured. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) determined that one such service would be contraception, including all forms commercially available and approved by the FDA. The sorts of exceptions to this requirement that would be available for religious employers became a thorny issue and has been the subject of significant litigation ever since.

Republicans stood with employers who had ethical objections to participating in birth control provision—a move popular among those who believe in freedom of conscience and religious liberty but also one that opened them to political mudslinging that portrayed them as an entire party of religious fundamentalists engaged in a "war on women." Some moderate Republicans saw over-the-counter contraception as a way around this quagmire (and the political problems it posed for them with women voters).

Making birth control available over the counter played well with younger conservatives who still opposed abortion but were less (if at all) concerned with the immorality of birth control or premarital sex per se. Expanding access through nonprescription sales could be considered both a "pro-life" position, in that it had the potential to prevent unintended pregnancies and thus reduce abortion rates, and a "pro-choice" position. Most importantly, making the pill widely available in drug stores would drive up access and drive down costs without burdening religious employers who object to subsidizing contraception.

But it was precisely the compromise nature of this effort that offended progressives, who had already shown no mercy for morality-based opt-outs. Many couldn't see beyond a suspicion that sudden conservative support for OTC pills was just some attempt to undermine the ACA contraception mandate.

A Dark Moment for Democrats

Rather than working with Republicans to craft a compromise measure—say, one that protected insurance coverage for contraception but also paved the way for over-the-counter pills—and helping to secure a rare bipartisan win for women's health care, liberals actively advocated against conservative colleagues' efforts.

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, suggested, without evidence, that making pills available over the counter would hike costs for individual women to $600 a year. Republican politicians pushing for OTC pills, she said, would somehow "drag women back to the 1950s."

In 2014, Planned Parenthood's political arm bought ads in multiple states. "In its first TV ad buy of the 2014 cycle," noted HuffPost, "Planned Parenthood's political arm is warning voters in North Carolina and Colorado that Republican Senate candidates' support for over-the-counter birth control is not what it seems."

A representative 2015 piece in Salon by feminist writer Katie McDonough called the OTC pill push "a transparent attempt to chip away at the Affordable Care Act" that would "do very little to expand access, particularly to low-income women in rural areas." Apparently, expanding access wasn't really expanding access unless insurance companies were involved.

This was a dark moment in Democratic politics: Even as they ramped up efforts to portray Republicans as the harbingers of a Handmaid's Tale scenario and to portray themselves as hip to the needs of marginalized groups, Democrats sacrificed an opportunity to help women struggling to obtain birth control prevent unintended pregnancies. Instead, at the expense of undocumented immigrants, low-income women, victims of domestic violence, and others, they opted to help middle-class women save $10 a month—and prop up insurance providers, pharmaceutical companies, and the Democratic fundraising machine in the process.

All the while, they insisted that they were putting contraception in reach for more American women. But evidence suggests they were merely shifting around costs.

Between 2013 and 2017—the years in which employers were required to come into compliance with the ACA's contraception mandate—the percentage of women whose private plans offered no-copay contraception jumped from 45 percent to 75 percent, according to Kaiser Health. Plans covering pills with a copay dropped from 49 to 19 percent. Either way, 94 of those surveyed had employer-subsidized birth control coverage.

Better insurance coverage doesn't equate with better access, though, and America's high rate of unplanned pregnancy suggests insurance alone isn't cutting it. "Having an unplanned pregnancy rate of fifty percent indicates that prescription only OC distribution is inadequate and that there are too many barriers blocking women from acquiring contraception," writes Desire'e Martinelli, then a University of Mississippi School of Law student, in "Sex, Drugs, Trump and Birth Control," published in the William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law.

Making contraception cheaper for those who already have health insurance also excludes a lot of women. The 2017 Kaiser survey found "approximately one in ten (12%) nonelderly adult women" were uninsured at the time of the survey and "an additional 8% of women…had a lapse in coverage in the prior year."

Women are more likely than men to be employed part-time or in informal positions that don't come with health benefits. Those who do have coverage could lose their jobs; should they automatically lose their birth control too? And then there are undocumented and transient women, those in controlling relationships, and other populations for whom participation in the formal economy may be out of reach, public assistance may be unobtainable, or using insurance benefits to prevent pregnancy may be risky or impossible.

No matter how many employer-sponsored plans offer "free" birth control or how many new women are added to the Medicaid rolls, there will still be millions of women left out of any system that conditions affordability and access on insurance and regular doctor's visits. Yet that is the system that opponents of over-the-counter contraception want to keep in place.

Ending Politically Motivated Paternalism

Despite national political attachment to a doomed partisan birth control battle, there is some progress being made on contraception access, thanks to states, private companies, and new technologies.

Five states have recently enacted laws that let pharmacists prescribe birth control pills,obviating the need for a separate trip to the doctor. Others are reforming regulations so that women can obtain up to a year's supply at once and so that they can order their contraceptives online or through the mail. An array of companies have sprung up with innovative tele-prescription services, which let women interact with doctors digitally, skip the ancillary exams, and receive their pill scripts in the mail.

These moves significantly improve on the status quo when it comes to obtaining birth control. But adoption has been spotty, and states don't have the power to switch birth control to totally prescription-free status. That authority lies with the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the application process is prohibitively expensive for all but the most well-heeled drug companies.

According to Martinelli, "pharmaceutical companies make more from prescription insurance payments than they could if contraception was in a competitive market." So until recently, no drug company saw fit to challenge the way things have always been done. But in late 2016, an international research organization and a French pharmaceutical company—Ibis Reproductive Health and HRA Pharma—announced that they were working "to conduct the research needed and submit an application" to the FDA for a pill designed to minimize the risk of complications. The company has extensive experience in this realm, having launched an E.C. pill all the way back in 1999 and become the leading maker of such drugs in Europe. Perhaps most importantly, HRA Pharma has been through the FDA application process before when it secured over-the-counter approval here in the U.S. for its progestin-only E.C. pill, ellaOne.

It could still be years before the company can conduct all the necessary research and compile all the necessary data to submit an FDA application. "A typical FDA process from the time a drug company begins an application process until a pill is available over the counter is approximately three to five years," says Britt Wahlin, vice president for development and public affairs at Ibis.

With the European private equity group Astorg and Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division as majority shareholders, and with plans to accelerate international expansion and grow its women's health care line, HRA Pharma is well-positioned to see this through—as long as political maneuvering doesn't get in the way.

Sadly, that seems like a real possibility. Progressive plans for providing affordable and accessible contraception remain intractably dependent on the ACA mandate being unbending and eternal. But although Obamacare has survived multiple legal and political challenges, it remains a target, with a federal judge declaring the entire act unconstitutional in December 2018. Although there is little chance that ruling will stand, its existence should still serve as a warning to those who would tie medical access to any specific health-insurance coverage scheme, especially one as politically volatile as Obamacare.

Even if the ACA remains in place, certain aspects are less stable. The specific services and drugs that must be "free" to insurance consumers and the types of employers that are allowed to opt out of this coverage for religious or moral reasons are both decided by the executive branch.

Since taking office, President Trump has tried to expand the list of organizations that can be exempted from the contraception mandate. A new set of rules were set to take effect this month, but the details are still being fought over in court. This week, a federal judge has blocked them from taking effect in 18 states and Washington, D.C.

Perhaps now is the time to once again leave old birth-control battle lines behind. January 2019 ushered in a new Congress, and left-right alliances in the Trump era are still being rewritten. Political conditions could finally be right for achieving OTC sales of standard birth control pills.

Under Trump, the left has begun to look for ways to allow for undocumented access to medical care. Social conservatives, meanwhile, have embraced a more libertarian approach to these policy battles, fighting to be free from forced participation in things like birth control coverage or gay weddings but not against others' ability to participate.

Today's Republican leaders largely want to be seen as anti-abortion and pro–religious liberty, but not as religious ideologues, prudes, or people standing in the way of pregnancy prevention—which makes embracing OTC pills a pretty safe bet for them if it's built up as a bipartisan affair. Democratic lawmakers could stand out as both champions of women's rights and bipartisan problem solvers. Instead, the left seems content to remain mired in counterproductive Obamacare politics, at the expense of the women they claim to support.

It's time to leave all that behind. Rather than endless rounds of religious freedom vs. women's health care and partisan posture vs. partisan posture, advocates should be concentrating on making it legal to sell birth control pills over the counter. It's the one thing that could truly ensure widespread access, untethered to a person's ability to afford insurance or ability to make it to the doctor on a regular basis, and unassailable by the whims of pharmacists, physicians, employers, and political administrations.

Women deserve better than politically motivated paternalism, but until birth control can be obtained without permission, that's what we're stuck with.

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146 responses to “Over-the-Counter Contraception Is Immensely Popular. But Democrats Have Doomed It.

  1. BAIT AND SWITCH. Over at Hit & Run this was advertised as a Peter Suderman joint. I only read it because I wanted to see where he got off tackling a subject so far out of his lane.

    There is, of course, a politcally racist (or racistly political) motivation that could be assigned to the Democrats for not wanting – and the Republicans for wanting – easy access to birth control in certain reliable voting blocs. Quite frankly, I shouldn’t be the one floating it.

    1. Progressives AGAINST eugenics? Woah- if true

      1. There’s a first time for everything?

    2. I knew it wasn’t Suderman when I read “Republicans believe (at least sporadically) in individual rights and deregulation”

      He knows not to ruin his chances at Vox

      1. On the career advancement scale is Vox really for true ahead of Reason?

        1. If by career advancement you mean moving on to jobs in the mainstream media – e.g. WaPo, CNN, etc. then clearly yes.

          1. Well that’s not a very libertarian moment. Pft.

        2. The big players look upon Reason tenure with suspicion because it purports to be nominally libertarian. That’s why everyone here pays lip service to woke hive-mind pieties, and excuse away progressive authoritarianism, while calling out the smallest offense on the right. Who the hell wants the National Review on their CV, it’s not like the Federalist can pay it’s writers in money.

          If you want a career you need WaPo’s Amazon dollars, or the NYT’s Sulzberger scratch, or Turner Broadcasting System or Disney moolah. And they won’t hire you if your not solid in the doctrine and faith, and that means a turn at a “reliable” institution like Salon, Slate, Vox, Buzzfeed, etc.

          Reason is just the toe in the door.

          1. I’ll assume your massive confusion — with the required “woke” — comes from your ignorance that libertarias have been fiscally conservative and socially liberal … for only 50 years now.

            Our founding slogan “left and right are obsolete” means that ANYONE is obsolete, who tries to fit everyone into either a left or right box, when only less than 40% fit into BOTH boxes combined.

            Indeed, those libertarian values are now self-identified by 60% of voters, and still increasing.
            That leaves a shrinking 40% for the left and right boxes combined. Thus obsolete, by definition.

            1. John Galt Jr – Sock = Hihn

              1. LOSE on the issue … ATTACK the messenger.
                Then add the notorious HIHN CONSPIRACY.
                If one DARES to trigger the authoritarian right, and they LOSE.

                (HE makes the same screwup on libertarianism)

    3. This is another battle in the War on Women.

      The dark cloud of the War Against Women is forever hovering over Republicans but usually manages to land on Progressives and Democrats.

      Kamala Harris aide resigns after harassment, retaliation settlement surfaces

      A longtime top staff member of U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris resigned Wednesday after The Sacramento Bee inquired about a $400,000 harassment and retaliation settlement resulting from his time working for Harris at the California Department of Justice.

      Larry Wallace, who served as the director of the Division of Law Enforcement under then-Attorney General Harris, was accused by his former executive assistant in December 2016 of “gender harassment” and other demeaning behavior, including frequently asking her to crawl under his desk to change the paper in his printer.

      The lawsuit was filed on Dec. 30, 2016, when Harris was still attorney general.

      Harris, who has said she will decide over the holidays whether to run for president in 2020, has been a prominent figure in the #MeToo movement against workplace sexual harassment. Last year, she was among a group of female senators that were the first to call for the resignation of Sen. Al Franken after multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct, and she introduced a bill in June to ban forced nondisclosure agreements in harassment settlements.

      1. “gender harassment”

        Ok, what is it?

        1. The lawsuit was filed on Dec. 30, 2016, when Harris was still attorney general.

          LIE.

          ACTUAL:

          The lawsuit was filed on Dec. 30, 2016, when Harris was still attorney general but preparing to be sworn in as California’s newly elected Democratic senator

          TWO workdays later!

          Did you lie because she’s a woman, because she’s a Democrat, or both?
          (Deleted the clarifying phrase and added a fraudulent period.)

          usually manages to land on Progressives and Democrats.

          This one landed on you.
          And splattered.

          1. You do know that if it was filed in December, the harassment took place before right dumbfuck?

            1. BUT I PROVED THAT HE LIED, CHUMP
              WHEN WAS THE INCIDENT UNCOVERED, SLICK?
              (SNEER)

            2. Before December “gender harassment”

  2. What? The Democrats are doing somersaults just to keep a political issue alive (and in spite of how their actions impede “choice” and “women”)? Can’t be true.

    1. The dark cloud of the War Against Women is forever hovering over Republicans but usually manages to land on Progressives and Democrats.

      “Concerned” Dems aren’t concerned about past sexual assaults by Dems

      Excerpts (but read the article):
      Senate Democrats say it’s unacceptable to have on the Supreme Court someone “credibly” accused of assaulting a woman 36 years ago, when he was in high school. Who among these “outraged” Senators has complained about serving with Democratic colleagues credibly accused of, and admitting to, assaulting women?

      Sen. Sherrod Brown’s ex-wife claimed in court documents that Brown threw her up against a wall and showed “physical violence and abusive nature.”

      Sen. Tom Carper admits he gave his ex-wife a black eye.

      Sen. Cory Booker has admitted groping a friend when he was in high school.

      And what about Sen. Mazie Hirono? She asks every male judicial nominee whether he has ever sexually harassed or assaulted anyone. But she accepted $1,000 from Sen. Carper’s PAC in June of this year.

      Keith Ellison, Deputy Chair of the Democratic National Committee stands very credibly accused of assaulting two women as an adult. Contemporaneous police records back up at least one of the assault claims. [and was recently elected as Minnesota’s Attorney General by Democrats].

      1. I haven’t checked. Is this one a shameful fraud, like like your other one, just above.

      2. Is this one as blatantly dishonest as your other one, just above?

    2. I too would like ENB slip us a list of names. In the Bandana Republics where there is NO bill of rights, I can walk in and buy birth control pills no questions asked despite my wrong chromosomes. Now that DNA testing can make Junta fascist politicians and generalissimos liable for child support for nearly two decades, the Pope iv Rome can take a hike with his altar boys! Those pills, condoms, diaphragms are all legal as sea salt and the illegal things are as easy to get as acid was in Haight Ashbury. But the law is still written to please male Italian mystics who pay not a penny in child support but millions in pederasty coverups. The illegal thing you WON’T find south of Mexico is a libertarian party.

      1. “The illegal thing you WON’T find south of Mexico is a libertarian party.”

        They all moved to the US!

  3. >>>Yet the prescription requirement remains on the books. Why?

    b/c people are still stupid enough to give money to politicians.

    1. Because the AMA has high paying lobbyists and they like the money received from yearly visits for prescriptions.

    2. Making birth control pills available OTC would hit Planned Parenthood. We can’t have that.

  4. When the pill first came to the U.S. in 1960, …

    But in the nearly 70 years since then

    “Math class is tough!”

      1. Math is racist AND sexist

    1. My first reaction was to wonder if I’d pulled a Rip van Winkle.

    2. I saw that as an example of hyperbolizing in plain sight. After all, nearly 60 is nearly 70, right?

    3. I was born in 1960, and I’m not ready to turn nearly 70!

    4. SIV, another shameful lie .,.. with several suckers.

      But in the nearly 60 years since then

      WHY SO PETTY?

      “Math class is tough!”

      Honesty is MUCH tougher.
      For some,

    5. Don’t you know it’s all about morality, not math?

  5. If Democrats really are preventing some forms of birth control from being available over the counter, I’m sure they have excellent science-based reasons for doing so. In fact I hope Democrats make reproductive rights a major campaign theme in 2020.

    1. Last I checked, love of power over a voting group isn’t a science-based reason, although it is frequently used as such. See also: progressive opposition to nuclear power and carbon capture to mitigate climate change

      1. Better example: All the fearmongering over SCOTUS possibly overturning Roe, but not introducing a constitutional amendment to guarantee the right to an abortion (despite finding the time to introduce one to eliminate the electoral college)

        1. That’s may be as bizarre as WANTING Casey overturned (Roe was superseded by Casey long ago)
          When has there EVER been an amendment to protect something that is already protected by the Constitution?

      2. Last I checked …

        Check again. Without the tribalism,
        OTC will increase the price paid, EXACTLY as they said, because ,…. insurance does not cover OTC!!!

    2. If Democrats really are preventing some forms of birth control from being available over the counter, I’m sure they have excellent science-based reasons for doing soIt’s financial, as they said. Insurance does not pay for OTC.
      OTC contraceptives originated with the VERY extreme socons, who believe that ANY contraception violates the Will of God … which they believe, laughably, that the sole purpose of sex is procreation — which requires flunking Biology.

      Humans are (about) the ONLY species who can enjoy sex, even when procreation is impossible .. as determined by Almighty God.

      That same God restricted sex for ONLY the lower animals. HUMAN females need not be in heat!

  6. The pill not being over the counter still doesn’t justify the government requiring others to purchase it. Sure, let the pill be over the counter.

    1. Didn’t Obama take Nuns to court over the pill?

      1. Yes. And now CA is trying to take them to court for the same reason after the Trump administration offered them a blanket exemption.

        1. Lol. Sniveling rats.

          1. For the most part, access to the pill has never been an issue. This was always about control. Guttmacher, an abortion rights group, even admitted that before mandated contraceptive coverage 95% of all women who wanted access to such drugs had them. Even the argument of over the counter birth control, while it’s fine by me, is really a non-issue.

      2. Didn’t Obama take Nuns to court over the pill?

        Nope. The Little Sisters of the Poor launched a lawsuit, which they won, then it went to SCOTUS, where they won again.

      3. “Little Sisters of the Poor” I think that was.

  7. If reaching the apex of women’s reproductive rights means sweeping aside a federal bureaucracy, you know what the choice will be.

    1. A strengthened and emboldened federal bureaucracy.

  8. Bad picture.
    That chick is gross

    1. i dunno the red hair is kind of a leg-up despite the lack of prom-queen face

  9. FDA jobs and cronyism.

    The answer to all medical questions that involve bad healthcare.

  10. A few years ago, Republican Cory Gardner introduced an OTC birth control bill and progressives shat their pants, including those who just before then had been pushing for OTC birth control.

    There’s really no reason for progressives to oppose this, other than they perceive it as a stumbling block for their current plan to have an NHS implemented.

    1. There is an add’l, probably more powerful reason: spite. It’s like, “You Republicans can’t get off the hook that easy, because we know you really want to oppress women!” It’s like, “You can’t get off so easy by modifying your gun to comply w the law!” It’s like Jehova hardening Pharaoh’s heart vs. the Jews, so he can punish both of them more.

      1. Or … perhaps they’re smarter than you, and know that OTC contraception is not insured, so costs would indeed increase.

        1. Solution: make the pills OTC and prescibable. It’s being done with ranitidine, among other medications I’m sure.

          Opposition to these laws makes it obvious that someone doesn’t want their political football intercepted.

          1. Anything is prescribable (is that a word?)

    2. Umm, pay attention, I’ll go slowly.

      OTC contraception originated with the EXTREME socons, who beleeb contraception violates the Will of Almighty God … based on their bizarre claim that sex is only for procreation — which is the exact opposite of what their God intended … as we were taught in Biology (8th grade IIRC).

      Your ignorance also includes … health insurance … which does not reimburse OTC costs. Thus, PP is correct that OTC would increase prices, The alt-right also tries to defund Title X inner-city family planning, which would INCREASE abortions! duh.
      It’s kinda scary how many posters here are so ignorant of basic health insurance.

      I respectfully suggest that you consider spending less time on tribal sneering, and more time educating yourself, to avoid such public embarrassment in the future,.

  11. Yet the prescription requirement remains on the books. Why?

    For years, blame could be cast on the traditional villains of progressive politics: social conservatives who opposed the pill, the Bible thumpers in the Republican Party who pandered to them, and drug companies with no incentive to do anything that might puncture their profits.

    But recently, thanks to Obamacare, Democrats have become the primary impediment to freeing up rules around the sale of contraception. In 2019, it’s liberals, not conservatives, who are holding the pill hostage for political gain.

    “History class is tough! Let’s make sandwiches for the boys”

    1. Seems like it was religious zealots who forced everyone, including nuns, to pay for everyone else’s contraceptives. But, of course they will never be derided as such.

      1. It would be just as fair to say contraception was included in ObamaCare because conservatives would not let it be sold OTC.

        1. That would be fair if any of what you said happened. I mentioned something that really happened. But, yeah, we needed it mandated because the existing access of 95% was too low

        2. Liz fails to offer a citation for that paragraph. Hence the “could be cast” qualifier. The history of opposition to contraception, and particularly the laws against it, originate largely from social purity progressives before they were into eugenics. “Bible-Belt” states (with the exception of Mississippi) weren’t the ones banning contraception.Feminists pushed for more government restrictions on birth control pills in the 1970s in the name of “women’s health”.

          1. Obama overruled his own FDA when they allowed Plan B to be sold over the counter.

            1. LIE ABOUT THE NIGGER FROM KENYA (/sarc)

              President Barack Obama extended support on Thursday for the FDA’s decision to institute age 15 las the new limit for over-the-counter sales of Plan B. Speaking to reporters at a press conference in Mexico, Obama said he finds science to be behind the decision as well.

              “I’m very comfortable with the decision they’ve made right now based on solid, scientific evidence,” Obama said. Obama’s comments come two days after the FDA lowered the age limit from 17 years old..

              HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius concedes that Plan B has been shown to be safe and effective when used as directed. She claims she is overruling the FDA because the company that asked to sell it over the counter didn’t produce evidence that girls under 17 “can understand the label and use the product appropriately.”

      2. Sounds to me like you just did

  12. I like the idea of OTC birth control. It already has a start if you consider condoms. What I like to see the author address is how do we handle female contraception that does require medical intervention. Long term implanted devices or medicine administered by injection. If we get OTC for the general birth control pills can we get universal coverage for the others? I also like to see addressed the misogyny in the treatment of female reproductive health. The idea that providing birth control to women is a violation of some religious belief, but handing out ED pills and testosterone is acceptable. So how about OTC for birth control, ED pills and testosterone and universal inclusion of other female birth control in health care coverage.

    1. Why do progressives grasp for the universal in all cases?
      Oh yea – totalitarianism!

      Fuck off, bitch

    2. You lost me with “universal”. We don’t “universally” need the pill.

      1. The Poles, French and Czechs weren’t worried about German Lebensraum either. It wasn’t universal to them until after the Hitler-Stalin Pact. Life was soooo unfair before nuclear technology!

    3. “So how about OTC for birth control, ED pills and testosterone and universal inclusion of other female birth control in health care coverage.”

      How about none of that and you do what you want and I do what I want.

      1. WHOOOOOOOOOOOOSH

        Would you say the same for insurance coverage on broken bones? Heart attacks? Who draws the lines in your ideal gulag?

    4. My conclusion is that the First Amendment protects the Free (not coercive) exercise thereof. Dixiecrat and God’s Own Prohibitionist selective bullying of women via males casting votes is as “religious” as Christian National Socialist efforts to exterminate Jews based on binary Mendelian ideas they could eliminate the selfish gene and make the world safe for altruism–by deadly initiation of force. Alleles and DNA were mysteries in 1940, but the First Amendment was and is violated in These States. Observe in the GOP platform they demand to rewrite the 14th Amendment to say All Ova Fertilized! Then they demand the coathanger Amendment! The LP is being gulled into graceless suicide, women cross the street to avoid us. Remember, it was the LP that once had the guts to write Roe v Wade and slip it to La Suprema Corte before Wallace Dixiecrats won several states! Just before that it was a felony for doctors to even advise couples!

      1. You forget, of course, that the original LP 1974 platform called for religious accommodation.

        1. NOT OF CHRISTIAN FASCISM. I WAS THERE.

  13. tl;dr (4 pages!)

    Government is all about control. It encourages, nay demands, that you spend more and more time trying to influence government so it will control others before they influence government to control you.

    99% of what government handles does not need to be handled by government, and would be handled better by free markets.

    1. Yeah, but mindless slogans like that have been failing for decades.
      The libertarian establishment now has NO policy proposals, to privatize ANYTHING, since the anti-gummint goobers dominate.

      99% of what government does is also what people want.
      Consider Medicaid. Before that, Americans always paid for the uninsured, regardless of age or income. HUMANS have done that since the 1500s. At the moment, goobers REJECT free-market outcomes and would repeal or slash it. Bernie, Elizabeth and Ocasio-Cortez are the ONLY ones who CLAIM to provide what people already want.

      It’s been a quarter-century or more since the libertarian establishment has even mentioned transitioning back to the private sector. The goobers now scream, REPEAL IT. So, we’ve been getting our ass kicked for decades, and it WILL get worse.

      Tribal delusions are THE biggest threat to liberty.

  14. Comstock law religious bigots “want to be seen as anti-abortion and pro?religious liberty…” This is standard predator mimesis. A deer hunter cross-dresses like a pile of leaves, a false cleanerfish imitates the real ones to bite victims and cuckoo young resemble the baby birds they kill and replace. The fact remains that the entire Republican platform seeks only to force women at gunpoint into involuntary servitude because TR’s 1903 race-suicide letter or because equally superstitious Mohammedans might brainwash more kids. The LP wrote Roe v Wade but NARAL doesn’t know that. They endorse Beto without regard to his Hitler plank on gagging the media or econazi support for banning electrical generation. Yet the LP is constantly infiltrated by fifth columnists since 1974. They tried successfully to make us look like child abusers, then injected the “good-faith-based” straddle plank like it were Job One of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

    1. It takes a lot of mental gymnastics to label the people who don’t want to be forced to do something by the government into the bad guys.

      1. No clue why he’s on a “libertarian” site TBQH. Maybe he’s Setyon’s sock.

        1. You keep PROVING your MASSIVE ignorance of libertarianism.
          And your LONG OBSOLETE attempts to place everyone into a right or left box.

          On THIS issue, a fundamental “slogan” has been
          Liberals want government out of your bedroom and into your wallet.
          Conservatives want government out of your wallet and into your bedroom.
          I always add, and BOTH beat their chests in self-righteous arrogance.

          Probably why loyalty to BOTH is rejected by a growing majority of Americans.
          But the self-righteous have always sneered at their (perceived) inferiors, for all of human history
          Then, 50 years ago, God created libertarians. But some STILL refuse to accept that, or cannot grasp it.

      2. It takes MASSIVE gullibility to believe the crap you just stated.

    2. “The fact remains that the entire Republican platform seeks only to force women at gunpoint into involuntary servitude ”

      What? The point of the article was that women should be able to buy the pill OTC. Did you read it?

      1. What? There are actual articles behind the clickbait? Whodathunkit.
        I thought we just came here and posted a bunch of random stuff trying to get one of the Hinn clan to pop up.

        1. If by “Hihn clan” you mean libertarians, I addressed the confusion and/or ignorance of you both … from the Hihn libertarian perspective … just below. At 1.16.19 @ 11:20PM

      2. What? The point of the article was that women should be able to buy the pill OTC.

        WHAT?

        NOW you confuse a libertarian web site with THE REPUBLICAN PLATFORM?

        Did you read it?YOU did, and still don’t get it?

        P.S. OTC contraception originated with the EXTREME religious right — the ones who beleeb contraception violates the Will of Almighty God … which THEY believe says that sex is solely for procereatiiobn (in VIOLATION of God’s Will, per elementary biology)

    3. Hank Phillips: the entire Republican platform seeks only to force women at gunpoint into involuntary servitude

      The dark cloud of the War Against Women is forever hovering over Republicans but usually manages to land on Progressives and Democrats.

      Senator Hirono Didn’t Always Tell Men to ‘Shut Up’ and Believe Accusers: When it mattered in her own backyard, with a male Democratic senator, she turned a blind eye to sexual abuse.

      Quotes:
      In the 1990s credible allegations were made that Daniel Inouye, then a Democratic senator from Hawaii, had engaged in a pattern of sexual assault.

      Lenore Kwock, the senator’s hairdresser for 20 years, said she had been forced into nonconsensual sex back in 1975 and had suffered persistent gropings since then.

      Kwock was surprised at the silence of Hawaii’s female political leaders about her account, given that the Anita Hill hearings had riveted the nation just one year earlier. Mazie Hirono, then considered a prot?g? of Inouye’s as a member of the State House, maintained a studied and consistent silence. There is no evidence she believed Kwock.

      Senator Mazie Hirono today poses as a brave feminist cultural warrior, but when it really counted in her own backyard in Hawaii, she was AWOL. The same holds true when Bill Clinton’s predations were in the news in the late 1990s.

  15. Tell me again how having government health care will be so much better?

    1. Because it saves $2,500.00 a year on premiums, and I got to keep my doctor and my health plan. Period.

      1. That’s not government health care. LOL

      2. Was that savings amount using the government idea of “savings”? We plan for premiums to go up $6000/year. Since they only went up $3500/year, that would be a savings of $2500/year.

        1. And yet, somehow, that savings never showed up as a deposit to any of my accounts – – – – – –

    2. Tell me again how having government health care will be so much better?

      Now you’ve gone TOTALLY off the rails!

  16. Katie McDonough called the OTC pill push “a transparent attempt to chip away at the Affordable Care Act” that would “do very little to expand access, particularly to low-income women in rural areas.”

    What a liar. Yes, I’m sure taking a day off work to go to the doctor to get your birth control pill prescription refilled in the closest town is way more convenient for rural women than grabbing a few packs next time they are at Walmart.

    1. You can buy Oral Contraceptives from Walmart for $9/month ($108/year) and there is a Walmart in almost every town now.

      Walmart Family Planning Prescriptions

      If there is no Walmart in your town,
      you can have the medications shipped to you for free

      1. The cost is ZERO if insured, which would not apply to OTC.

        Anything else?

        1. “The cost is ZERO if insured”

          I bet its not……

  17. “freedom of conscious”

    Need an editing pass, Liz

  18. Last I saw BC pills can kill a woman dead, even though the probability is low. Tylenol is OTC though, so who cares?

    1. Insurance does not pay for Tylenol BECAUSE it’s over the counter,

      so who cares?

      EDUCATED women and their husbands.

      .
      Show us a link for the “kill dead” part. (NOT infowars)

    2. Insurance does not pay for Tylenol BECAUSE it’s over the counter,

      so who cares?

      EDUCATED women and their husbands.

      .
      Show us a link for the “kill dead” part. (NOT infowars)

  19. If we start letting women get birth control pills over the counter, like other birth control methods, the next thing you know, we will allow them to kill babies on a whim.

    1. So, your “Free” also shits on our founding principle of Equal, Unalienable and/or God-Given rights,

      ALL unalienable rights are absolute … by definition.
      They include Life, an unspecified package called Liberty, an unspecified package called Pursuit of Liberty.
      And ALL rights NOT enumerated (9th Amendment)

      So, you don’t know which rights are unalienable, or even how many there are (NOBODY DOES)
      But Life and Liberty are OBVIOUSLY equal!

      How would YOU resolve a conflict between two conflicting rights, BOTH of them absolute?
      The Constitution provides HOW that is to be done, which you seem unaware of also.

      No offense intended, but how can one long to be free ,… but not know what freedom entails?

    2. So, your “Free” also shits on our founding principle of Equal, Unalienable and/or God-Given rights,

      ALL unalienable rights are absolute … by definition.
      They include Life, an unspecified package called Liberty, an unspecified package called Pursuit of Liberty.
      And ALL rights NOT enumerated (9th Amendment)

      So, you don’t know which rights are unalienable, or even how many there are (NOBODY DOES)
      But Life and Liberty are OBVIOUSLY equal!

      How would YOU resolve a conflict between two conflicting rights, BOTH of them absolute?
      The Constitution provides HOW that is to be done, which you seem unaware of also.

      No offense intended, but how can one long to be free ,… but not know what freedom entails?

  20. States have the power to do this. They can create new legislation or issue a blanket prescription to allow pharmacy dispensing.

    This is something people should push for. The contraceptives should be OTC. Major medical organizations agree with this including the AMA, ACOG (Ob/GYN) and AAFP (family practice).

    Also new on the horizon. Researchers have come up with a new delivery system. It is a sort of patch with dissolvable micro needles. The woman just applies the patch then removes it leaving the tiny hormone impregnated needles in place and lasts for 30 days. It does not hurt to apply and can be made cheaply. They are working on something which could be effective longer, up to 6 months.

    https://tinyurl.com/y9569pgr

    1. States have the power to do this

      The CDC disagrees. The level you’re talking about is entirely federal laws.

      Your link states

      Designed to be self-administered, the technology would give women with limited and irregular access to healthcare more control over family planning

      How does that address the valid concern by Planned Parenthood and many others, that OTC will increase prices by no longer being insured? The nature of this implies (to me) that it would be more difficult to deny insurance.

      OTC originated from those who explicitly want to ban contraception coverage, because they believe even contraception violates the Will of God. Strange, but true.

  21. Perhaps the Gillette ad should have shown a man buying his woman some birth control pills.

    1. Perhaps the Gillette ad should have shown a man buying his woman some birth control pills.

      1. If he was smart, he’d just rent.

  22. On p. 3 I think you mean transient, not transigent. But on p. 4 I’m mystified by “undocumented access to medical care”.

  23. Democrats hate the idea of people taking care of such matters without a doctor overseeing everything and making his own profit every time someone needs a prescription filled. For over a decade now I have advocated repeal of prescription laws as the first step to reducing the cost of US healthcare. As it stands, prescription laws effectively give doctors a government enforced legal monopoly that they no doubt are happy to have. Their patients of course have a different viewpoint of having to pay professional fees for something most people could handle themselves.

    1. Balderdash. Doctors do not charge for issuing or renewing prescriptions. I challenge you to provide proof of such a bill. Did YOU ever get a bill — like for renewals? Did anyone here?

      I’m a heart patient with five prescriptions. I did pay for a visit on one late addition, but would have paid the same even if zero prescriptions were prescribed, since it was test to see if I needed it. The other four were prescribed by the heart surgeon. And ten years of renewals — not a single bill — for a task which requires 3 minutes or less (each).

      There are good arguments against how prescriptions are regulated, but not that one.

      1. Doctors do charge money for the visit that enables them to issue a prescription.

        1. Read what I said. The prescription is the RESULT of a visit and diagnosis, NOT the cause of a visit.
          Can you cite ANY evidence to the contrary?

          You’d need to believe that the physician knew you needed the prescription before the visit, which is why you went … but HOW would she know? Or … she didn’t know until after she saw you, which alone refutes your assertion.
          OR .. that the cost of the visit is determined by whether or not a prescription was issued, which would be impossible.

          Have you EVER had a prescription? How long did it take to write, in seconds?

      2. See if you can get some psych meds, too.

        1. Infantile

    2. Indeed. And it’s not even just fucking drugs.

      I have to get a prescription for supplies for my goddamn CPAP. Like, the filters and the tubing and the mask and stuff. It’s just silicone and nylon and the like, totally inert.

      But no, I have to make an appointment to see a doctor at the sleep clinic so I can get a prescription, which won’t be any different than the last ten times I’ve done it, in order to be able to legally buy the supplies.

      1. have to get a prescription for supplies for my goddamn CPAP. Like, the filters and the tubing and the mask and stuff. It’s just silicone and nylon and the like, totally inert.

        Bullshit.
        I’ve had a CPAP machine for nearly 10 years.
        And you say *I* need psych meds???

      2. Same thing with test strips and lancets for diabetics.
        But without a prescription, the price would plummet.
        Are you trying to force the shareholders of pharmaceutical stocks to go hungry?
        Do you want doctors to have to lay off the clerks that process all the unnecessary prescriptions?
        You probably think the $15.00/hr minimum wage is a bad idea.

  24. A further thought: FDR is the President who signed our prescription laws into law. FDR was also a person who believed that government should be expanded and people should be forced to do what the government wanted…

  25. Aw geez, has ENB now joined Reason’s unabashed support for the alt-right?
    It’s difficult to believe she — of all people could make such massive blunders.

    OTC will — OF COURSE increase prices, by removing the insurance. The long-standing dispute on insurance reimbursement for OTC drugs, What sort of libertarian would support the gummint deciding WHICH OTC drugs insurance can pay for? Or defend reimbursements for aspirin and cough drops …. or jock straps, gauze pads and athletic wrap?

    I’m not objecting to OTC birth control, just the blatant and false tribal bias. This is a serious issue, deserving of sound journalism. If this male is concerned about Republican extremists trying to ban contraception entirely, how can a woman who claims to defend equal gender rights ignore it entirely? Or that OTC contraception originated with the radical right — specifically to remove insurance coverage?

    Who can forget Limbaugh’s MASSIVE STUPIDITY that Sandra Fluke — or ANY women — needs daily pills BECAUSE they “need” daily sex. (Perhaps explains his many failed marriages!)

    1. Fuck off Hihn.

      1. SHOUT DOWN inconvenient facts!
        The authoritarian mind.

        1. Fuck off, Hihn.

          1. ANOTHER BULLY.
            With the HIHN CONSPIRACY (gasp)

            Alt-Right Conservatives have ALWAYS hated libertarians. We STILL refuse to submit!

  26. Prescription drugs are rather asinine. Once the drug leaves the hand of the pharmacist, the recipient can abuse the drug (ie self medicate) any way they like until they OD or poison themselves, assuming that a consumer has any perverse incentive to abuse the drug in the first place. How many bean counters and bureaucrats are required to look after people who are too stupid to understand proper dosage or the dangers of black market drugs? Probably an infinite number.

    1. That’s not even close to the point — which, rightly or wrongly, is whether a doctor should issue a prescription, or whether people on their own — who are mostly clueless on nearly anything.

      Would you demand that your son or daughter be able to buy ANY medication on their own?

      I’m fairly sure that very few men have a clue on WHY doctors are involved with contraception.
      IUD vs pill is the most common, with severely different costs. Vasectomy or tubal ligation could be best in some cases.

  27. A possible side effect of OTC sales would be that people who are opposed to birth control (for whatever reason) and are opposed to it enough to put money behind it, could start going into drugstores and buying up the entire supply, thus hoping to interfere with availability to people who want it to use correctly.

    1. Like the Christian Taliban who believe contraception is Satanic?

  28. I’m guessing Planned Parenthood saw that all those women getting to “plan for parenthood” without involving them–and all that sweet, sweet abortion money they’d lose out on if they performed fewer of them–cutting into their bottom line and decided to do the rational thing… for themselves.

    1. (laughing) Men can be SO ignorant on these matters,
      They are CORRECT that OTC will increase out of pocket costs, because insurance doesn’t cover OTC drugs, which is why OTC originated with the VERY extremist Christian conservatives who believe contraception violates the Will of God (which they don’t know).

  29. When will it occur to Reason that health care freedom might be good to have generally, instead of just for birth control and getting high?

    When that actual free market idea wouldn’t hurt corporate profits?

    1. It began about 50 years ago. And never stopped. Pay attention.

  30. Leave it to reason to find a reasonable solution for this. Though on principle I’d prefer charities in the private sector provide them, to me this would be far more conscionable than continuing to fund abortion providers with federal money. (And for those Christians on the right and left of the political spectrum who may disagree, I don’t think the founder of our faith ever endorse forcing your will on anyone, and the same can be said for so-called pro-choicers who support federal funding of ‘abortion providers’) PP’s history was far better on this issue (supporting birth control over abortion) in the earlier days.Splinter news has an article that can be found on Google, *if* you make a specific search: how plannedparenthood ads evolved.

  31. Make all prescription medicine over-the-counter. Lower cost, more convenience, and more freedom. What, are we worried that someone will go home and kill themselves by overdosing on statins?

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  33. Good article, and all true – but it leaves out entirely the role of Ralph Nader and his henchman-for-healthcare, Dr. Sidney Wolfe, who through the decades has steadfastly opposed OTC status for oral contraceptives, saying that it would increase the use of the pills by women at risk for serious side effects.

    Sidney never actually practiced medicine and failed his boards, but he has been on the FDA advisory committee while I haven’t (despite being more qualified)….

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  36. The issue is that making birth control available to anyone who can pay removes it as a wedge issue for the universal healthcare movement.

    Making it widely and affordably available isn’t the same as making it “free” and removing it as an example of the war on women isn’t politically helpful. Its just another example of the hypocrisy of politics trumping the actual need.

  37. Such a well-written article (I am a physician and agree with this whole-heartedly). Brava!

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