Women are now able to purchase over-the-counter birth control from the pharmacy without a doctor’s visit and it’s about time.
Women in Oregon, and soon California, are now one step closer to procuring their birth control with the ease that men have had with buying condoms for years. Instead of having to make a doctor’s appointment to get a prescription, they can now head to their local pharmacy and be given the pill over the counter.
The process is simple. A woman, 18 years or older, walks into an Oregon pharmacy. They fill out a special questionnaire and, if everything looks okay, they’re able to walk out with up to a year’s worth of the pill. The only possible hold up is if a pharmacist denies the prescription for religious reasons but that pharmacist must then refer the woman to someone else. All in all it sounds like a pretty easy process. Why shouldn’t it be?
Condoms have been available as a simple purchase for decades both as a way to prevent pregnancy and diseases. You can just waltz into a store and buy a box. But a woman – the person who could actually become pregnant – has to manipulate her busy schedule and her wallet to go see a doctor and then go to the pharmacy. When I say it like that it doesn’t sound like a big deal but it is.
Women are busy. Some women work. Others go to school. Other women do both. And they may have children who have to go to school, go to activities, or go take a nap. To ask women to take time off from their job or their education or be forced to schlep their kids to a mandatory doctor’s visit that, depending on her insurance, can be costly, just so she can be in complete control of their reproductive system is outrageous. Her body is hers and she should be able to take care of it effortlessly.
Yes, there are some concerns attached to this new legislation. Being able to buy birth control without having to rearrange your schedule does not nullify the recommended yearly visits all women should make to their gynecologist. Let’s be honest; popping a pill doesn’t mean you won’t get pelvic cancer and it’s of the utmost importance to be checked out annually. These visits are vital in order to ensure that nothing is wrong down south.
There’s also some concern over women being handed over hormones which could mess with their health and body as well. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology has said that medicine containing acetaminophen has connections to major medical issues but it’s sold in droves. They also argue that, aside from preventing pregnancy, hormonal birth control minimizes both excessive bleeding and pain during periods. It is by far not the worst thing to be available at a drug store but it can prevent a life from being ruined.
It’s time for women to be empowered to take control, and take care, of their bodies to the fullest extent available to them and this legislation is a small step in the right direction. It is long overdue and I hope it’s the first of many steps towards teaching women that no one but the owner of the uterus is allowed to make decisions about her body.