Everyone deserves access to high-quality contraception. Ninety-nine percent of US women aged 15-44 who have ever had sex have used contraceptives to prevent pregnancy, manage health conditions and ensure autonomy over their own bodies. Despite the fact that we need to keep fighting political attacks on birth control insurance coverage and access, we also don’t want to lose sight of the future that reproductive justice advocates are fighting for: truly accessible sexual and reproductive health care for all people and the ability for every person to make decisions about their own bodies and lives with dignity.
Since the birth control pill first came on the market more than 50 years ago, women have made enormous strides. The pill has helped women to achieve higher levels of educational and career advancement, more fully participate in the workforce, and face less economic insecurity by allowing them to control when and whether they become pregnant. One-third of the wage gains women have achieved over the 1980s and 1990s have been attributed to access to birth control pills. Access to contraception translates to healthier mothers, newborns, families and communities by allowing people to help time and space births.
Birth control pills are safe and effective, but there are currently too many barriers to access them. Almost one in three women who have ever tried to get a prescription for birth control said they’ve faced obstacles, including not having a regular health care provider, the distance to visit a health care provider, the cost for an appointment, or challenges taking time off from work or school.
The US needs to take bold steps to make birth control more accessible. An over-the-counter birth control pill that is affordable and available to people of all ages is a critical step in that direction. An over-the-counter pill would reduce the unnecessary barriers that stand between women and…