November 24, 2015—When it comes to birth control, feminists and libertarians should largely be in agreement that developments in California and Oregon protect freedom of choice and privacy.
That’s because the two states passed new laws making birth control available over-the-counter, without a traditional prescription, once a pharmacist’s questionnaire is answered.
“I feel strongly that this is what’s best for women’s health in the 21st century, and I also feel it will have repercussions for decreasing poverty because one of the key things for women in poverty is unintended pregnancy,” Republican Oregon Representative Knute Buehler told the New York Times.
At the federal level, however, there are efforts to disrupt this simpler system. Some fear that since over-the-counter birth control isn’t covered by Obamacare, poorer women won’t have equal access. So, either insurance companies would be required to cover it anyway, or some middle-of-the-road system where a pharmacist prescribed birth control would need to be implemented.
“My basic tenet is there should be nobody between the patient and the pill,” Dr. Mark DeFrancesco, President of The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, told the Times. “I’m afraid we’re going to create a new model that becomes a barrier between that and over the counter. I worry that it’s going to derail the over-the-counter movement.”
Food and Drug Administration approval for over-the-counter birth control could also be time-consuming, endangering progress to simpler transactions. In the meantime, a pharmacist board in New Mexico is considering pushing a bill similar to California’s and Oregon’s, and a supermarket chain with stores in California and Nevada is encouraging the latter state to follow the former’s lead.
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