CAMBRIDGE, Mass., May 7, 2021 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Today, ahead of Free the Pill Day on May 9, a coalition of more than 100 national, state, and local reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations, researchers, and health care providers are celebrating their commitment to moving birth control pills over the counter in the United States. On the third-annual Free the Pill Day, the coalition is calling for over-the-counter birth control pills that are backed by science, fully covered by insurance, affordable, and available to people of all ages.
61 years since the birth control pill was first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, people still face barriers to access ? barriers that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing economic crisis. Especially now, over-the-counter birth control pills would give people greater options to control their reproductive health, particularly those who face the greatest barriers.
More than 99% of women ages 15-44 in the U.S. who have ever had sex have used some form of birth control and 60% are currently using birth control. Birth control pills are about 99% effective when used exactly as directed and 91% effective with typical use.
"Birth control pills are one of the best studied medicines on the market today," said Dr. Tina Raine-Bennett. "We have decades of research that point to their safety and effectiveness."
Despite their common use, safety, and effectiveness, people still face barriers to getting a prescription for birth control. One-third of adult U.S. women who have ever tried to obtain prescription birth control reported barriers to access.
"For many people in the U.S., getting and refilling a prescription for birth control is not easy, and the pandemic has made access even more challenging," said Kelly Blanchard, president of Ibis Reproductive Health. "Over-the-counter birth control pills can help bridge the gaps in access so everyone has the ability to make the best decisions for themselves, their families, and their health."
Barriers to a birth control prescription include having access to a health care provider, the cost of a visit with a provider, lack of insurance coverage, time away from work or school and other disruptions, childcare, and transportation. These barriers disproportionately impact Black, Indigenous, AAPI, and Latinx people, young people, immigrants, LGBTQ+ folks, and those working to make ends meet.
"Reproductive justice includes making decisions about our own bodies and lives with dignity and respect," said Denicia Cadena, policy director at Bold Futures New Mexico. "Over-the-counter birth control pills remove some of the barriers that stand in the way of that. We all need the ability to control our reproductive health and lives ? whoever we are, wherever we live, and however much money we have."
People of all ages are behind removing the barriers to birth control: 70% of women ages 18-49 support over-the-counter birth control pills and 76% of young people believe birth control should be available without a prescription.
"Young people shouldn't have to jump through unnecessary hoops to gain access to the contraceptive care they need," said Angela Maske, the Free the Pill campaign manager at Advocates for Youth. "That's why we're launching the #FreeThePill Virtual Store, to call attention to the barriers in the way of access, and visualize the future young people are fighting for."
The Free the Pill Virtual Store invites visitors into a world where birth control pills are available over the counter and on the shelves without restrictions. Store visitors will learn about the barriers in the way of access, earn merchandise, view #FreeThePill art from artists like Mona Chalabi, and take action to make birth control pills available over the counter, covered by insurance, and free of age restrictions.
Free the Pill, operated by Ibis Reproductive Health, is a campaign to educate and engage the public in support of an over-the-counter (OTC) birth control option in the United States. The campaign supports an OTC pill that is affordable, covered by insurance, and available to people of all ages. #FreeThePill
Chrissy Faessen, Free the Pill, 703-828-7769, Chrissy@conwaystrategic.com
SOURCE Free the Pill
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