Gynecologist group calls for over-the-counter birth control pills

By: Morgan Downing Email
By: Morgan Downing Email

SHERMAN, TX -- Buying birth control pills without a prescription from your doctor. That's what America's largest group of gynecologists hopes will be the way of the future, and it's sparking a big debate.

Texomans are on both sides of the fence when it comes to this issue. Some say it'll prevent unplanned pregnancies. Others say it's just way too risky.

According to the CDC, nearly half of all pregnancies are unintended, a rate that hasn't changed in 20 years. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is recommending birth control be sold over the counter to get that number down. Doctor Dan Grossman supports the idea.

"We have over 50 years of experience with oral contraceptives now and it's one of the best studied medications that's around. So, we know that it's incredibly safe," Dr. Grossman said.

But many physicians say it's risky.

"It may offer easier access, but physicians are concerned patients won't use them correctly," Dr. Todd Cutler said.

Gynecologist, Dr. Todd Cutler says he knows people who can't afford a doctors visit would have easier access, but he says the side effects of birth control such as head aches, nausea and the more serious blood clots, high blood pressure and even stroke, can be dangerous.

"Part of a visit when you come to a physicians office to talk about birth control pills is education and learning how to use them, when to use them, the right way to use them. If they're not taken at the right time or if you take the wrong pill, it's not effective. It's not effective birth control," Dr. Cutler said.

We asked Texomans to weigh-in on the debate.

"I think it's a good idea if the person is an appropriate age. Girls in high school... shouldn't have the option." Megan Ripley said. "They should have to be prescribed by a doctor. This way, there's less room for abuse."

"Yes! Think of all of the teens and women who can't afford to go to the doctor. I think teen pregnancy will go down if teens were able to get birth control with out seeing a doctor," Chelsea Flinn said.

Jessica McCraw disagrees.

"I believe it'd be very risky to just go and buy it over the counter and say 'oh I need this one,'" McCraw said.

The FDA will have to give the final approval. It is unknown whether any groups or pharmaceutical companies have approached them after ACOG's recommendations.


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