News Story Breakdown: Will Birth Control Become an Over-the-Counter Medication? 


NBC News

The FDA has voted to approve Opill as an over-the-counter contraceptive.

Anna Potts, Staff Writer

June 23, 1960–a revolutionary day in medicine and healthcare for women. Finally, a way to cut down unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions, ease menstrual cramps, control hormones, and even reduce acne safely and effectively by an oral contraceptive. 

Now May 10, 2023–a new breakthrough in women’s health is about to become a part of history: over-the-counter birth control. This means that adolescents, as well as other women who do not have access to proper healthcare professionals, can obtain birth control from their local Wal-Mart pharmacy. CNN writer Carma Hassan published a story reporting the FDA voted unanimously in favor of approving Opill (a birth control pill) to become over-the-counter, and said that the benefits would outweigh the risks. In addition to this, she reported two FDA panels agreed that even in the hands of adolescents and women with limited literacy, the pill can be used safely and effectively. 

Opill, the new over-the-counter women’s contraceptive, is a full prescription amount of norgestrel (.075mg). Since this is a full prescription amount, the FDA is under pressure from lawmakers, as well as healthcare providers to listen to its advisers and approve the medication this summer for over-the counter-use. However, some of the advisers and FDA scientists expressed concern that the medication was unreliable due to over-reporting of “improbable dosing.” This means that the data from the study on Opill’s dosage lack sufficient data to be approved in some FDA panels’ member’s opinion. 

The pill should be more easily accessible because it is necessary health care for some women.

— Molly Harris

In contradiction to this, the FDA advisers do not want to start another data study on the pill to slow down the process of its approval. Kate Curtis, who is the speaker for the US Center of Disease Control said in this interview with CNN that “Opill has huge potential to make a positive public health impact.” 

Moreover, Dr. Leslie Walker-Harding of the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital said, “The safety profile is so good that we would need to take every other medicine off the market like Benadryl, ibuprofen, Tylenol, which causes deaths and people can get any amount of that without any oversight.”

In a majority conservative community in the midwest, the FDA approval of this drug could be beneficial, or it could cause a strain between the FDA and U.S. midwest citizens who are far right. Far rightists argue that birth control is the same as an abortion, since it is killing an unfertilized egg and that birth control becoming an over-the-counter medication is taking away religious liberty and (unborn) children’s lives. 

Making birth control accessible to so many people will spread STDs, emotional stress, and premarital sinning.

— AHS student

Some students at AHS, like sophomore Molly Harris believe birth control “should be more easily accessible because it is necessary health care for some women who cannot get the medication prescribed by a doctor.” However another student at AHS, who preferred to stay anonymous, differed in opinions by expressing that “making birth control accessible to so many people will spread STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), emotional stress, and premarital sinning,” which the student deemed against the Bible’s word.”

All of this considered, over-the-counter birth control will be groundbreaking for women’s health, as well as groundbreaking in the sense that conservatives feel misheard if approved in the summer of 2023.