The nation’s top obstetricians and gynecologists issued a policy statement nearly five years ago saying the time had come for prescription-free oral contraception.

“In the intervening years,” says Hersher, “some states have changed their laws. California authorized pharmacists to distribute most types of hormonal birth control. Oregon passed a similar law covering both pills and patches.”

But only the Food and Drug Administration can make birth control pills available over-the-counter. And women under 18 are still required to get their first contraceptive prescription from a doctor, notes Hersher, despite the fact that there is no evidence that adolescents are at greater risk from birth control pills than adult women.

In fact, a review of oral contraceptive research reveals that, “There is no scientific rationale for limiting access to a future over-the-counter oral contraceptive product by age.”



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