Position Paper

Birth Control Over the Counter Birth Control Over the Counter The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has suggested that birth control should be sold over the counter to help reduce the rate of unplanned pregnancies (Weiss, 2012). Though, it is known that taking birth control comes with many “low risks” The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists stated that the risks are low enough that it is safe to be bought and sold over the counter. It is said that half of all pregnancies are unplanned and through easier accessibility to birth control would drop this statistic dramatically.
Birth control pills should not be sold over the counter without a physician’s approval due to the possible side effects, lack of education and the message it will send to children about sex. As a result of selling birth control over the counter women will now have to be just as informed as doctors when dealing with potential health risks. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggests that these concerns will be diminished through self-screening with a “simple questionnaire” and vigilance by women taking the pill (Wilson, 2012).
I don’t believe this is as “simple” as they portray. What happens if someone doesn’t understand a question on this questionnaire? Will they provide a frequently asked questions section to this questionnaire? It is too easy to just blow the question off and continue the process without a second thought. The first thought that comes to mind when I think about a simple questionnaire I think of something that asks, “how did you like the food and service? ” (Burger King). To me, it seems like a complete joke and dealing with life or death doesn’t seem to be very amusing.

There are various choices of birth control women can choose from ranging from pills, implants, patches, vaginal ring and even a birth control shot but women must be careful when choosing a method because some health risks are more severe than others in each product. Certain contraceptives have been linked with deep vein thrombosis (bleed clots), heart attack, stroke and hormone-driven cancers, gallbladder disease, pulmonary embolism, gall bladder damage, kidney stones and renal failure (Grayling, 2012). Products such as Yaz and Yasmin are oral contraceptives that contain a synthetic progestin alled drospirenone. Researchers have found that drospirenone can elevate the body’s potassium level, which leads to hyperkalemia, a condition involving serious and potentially fatal heart problems (Grayling, 2012). As a result the Food and Drug Administration instructed that warning labels must be present and visible stating increased risks in these effects. Many of these effects can be life threating and other under lieing health conditions like age, smoking, and obsecity can significently increase these risks.
With warning labels, whether they are placed on the product itself or on a piece of paper, brings about the point of whether people will take the time to read these warnings. When I go to a store to buy tylenol, nyquil or any over the counter medicine, I really don’t read what is in the products I just take them for their intended purpose. There is an unseeing trust when taking medicine hanging from a shelf that people know it is safe for human consumption, almost like an unwritten rule.
A certain bond comes with doctors and there is confidence in them because of their constant care for people achieved through their dedication to their profession. If this movement passes how knowlegable do women have to be? Some of these warnings are pages long in medicial terminology that most people don’t understand. A brief description or definition doesn’t mean someone will understand what these health risk warnings mean and what they can lead to, it is much deeper then that. I feel like you might as well invest into a degree in the medical field to truly understand what is being said in some of these warning labels.
It is hard work and that this is why doctors are regarded so highly. While providing birth control over the counter phyician’s seem to be unintentionally sending the wrong message to consumers giving them the choice to not see a doctor for medical needs. If women are already not seeing a doctor regularly because of the inconvenience and cost in seeing a physician, what’s to say they would want to see them after the FDA approves birth control being sold over the counter? As stated earlier, 50% of all pregnancies are unplanned and this rate hasn’t changed much in the past 20 years (Wilson, 2012).
Is this so because women are scheduling appointment’s regularly to see the doctor to prove this statistic wrong? No. There is no structure in maintaining regularly scheduled visits to see a doctor for health assessment now and there probably won’t be any structure once this new proposition is passed. The counseling and recommendations doctors provide are very necessary and this is something that shouldn’t be portrayed differently. When seeking medical attention a doctors advice is invaluable and often times they save us from ourselves.
We cannot be trusted to maintain our own health and except to live a long life. We disrespect our bodies often when we consume alcohol to the point that we are no longer sober, we smoke cigarettes until our lungs collapse, we inject ourselves with drugs, we eat whatever we want and portion sizes don’t seem to matter leading to high cholesterol and other serious health problems. While we condemn our bodies to this type of treatment we gain high-risk health conditions that we should be worried about when we maintain a lifestyle of doing what we want, when we want and in the end we cannot blame anyone but ourselves.
Pap smears and pelvic exams are required as a pre process before having birth control prescribed which could ultimately save someone’s life if found to have cancer. Unknowing consumers wouldn’t know better unless already cognizant to the fact that if taking antibiotics, it will lessen the effectiveness of birth control pills and in turn will require extra protection when taking part in sexual activity, so requiring a prescription for birth control allows a physician or pharmacist to advise women of any possible drug interaction (Lee ; Cintron, 2012). This goes the same with any illness.
A physician’s consult is necessary otherwise our country wouldn’t continue to grow or even exist. We would probably be sick and dying along side many 3rd world countries. Not to mention the responsibility that will be required if birth control be put on the shelves. Thinking about the children and teenagers, how will this affect them? It is not just about the adults anymore. Readily available drugs means having to be aware of our children’s perspective. Will they think this means it is okay to have sex with anyone? Having birth control doesn’t mean it will protect you from STD’s.
And what of other methods? Are we telling children the preferred method for controlling pregnancy is to take birth control pills? This is not the message we should be sending to our still developing youth. I believe we should spend more time investing in educational classes dealing with sex, STD’s and pregnancy. These are realities that need to be explained until the horse is dead. I don’t know what ever happened to the beliefs that parents would instill into their children that if you have sex you will end up pregnant or worst, infected with a sexually transmitted disease.
On the other hand the providing birth control free dramatically reduced the amount of unplanned pregnancies as well as abortion rates says lead author Jeff Peipert, MD, PhD, the Robert J. Terry Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Science Daily, 2012). The same can be said if provided easier access to birth control. Under the Affordable Care Act, introduced and passed by President Barack Obama, allows birth control to be provided at lower or no out of pocket costs to women interested in taking birth control (Health Care, 2012).
Unfortunately if the proposition to sell birth control over the counter passes, health insurance would not cover the costs anymore. A recent national survey shows that women are paying an average of $16 per pack (Weiss, 2012). Physicians say the risks that come with taking birth control are extremely low and it is safe to sell the pill without a prescription. Also, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, access and cost are common reasons why women either do not use contraception use or have gaps in use (Wilson, 2012).
Lastly, an effort to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies in the United States the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is recommending that oral contraceptives be sold over the counter without a prescription (Wilson, 2012). With change comes a new reality and new issues to overcome. While offering birth control free or over the counter more women are willing to start using contraception consistently. This is a huge game changer and could help our county save billions of dollars in unplanned pregnancies but we should not abandon other methods.
For instance, we could invest into better programs to teach kids about sex, STDs, and pregnancy. It is very important to seek a physician’s guidance because they hold pertinent information regarding various medical concerns and can ultimately save our lives or the lives of others. Birth control pills should not be sold over the counter without a physician’s approval and until all other avenues for controlling unplanned pregnancies are obsolete I believe they should be utilized for the safety and concern of the children and not for the sheer convenience it will provide. References Grayling, L. (2012, 11 26).
Doctors Want Birth Control Pills Sold over the Counter, but is it Dangerous? – Drugwatch. com. Retrieved 12 01, 2012, from drug watch: http://www. drugwatch. com/2012/11/26/doctors-want-birth-control-pills-sold-over-the-counter-but-is-that-a-dangerous-idea/ Health Care. (2012, 12). Read the Law | HealthCare. gov. Retrieved 12 08, 2012, from HealthCare. gov: http://www. healthcare. gov/law/full/index. html Lee, F. , ; Cintron, D. (2012, 11 28). Prescription-free birht control pills up for debate. Retrieved 12 08, 2012, from usatoday: http://www. usatoday. com/story/news/2012/11/28/over-the-counter-birth-control/1732205/ Science Daily. 2012, 10 04). Abortion rates plummet with free birth control. Retrieved 12 01, 2012, from ScienceDaily: http://www. sciencedaily. com/releases/2012/10/121004200908. htm Weiss, D. (2012, 11 29). Physician Gourp Supports Making Birth Control Pills Available OTC. Retrieved 12 01, 2012, from Pharmacy Times: http://www. pharmacytimes. com/news/Physician-Group-Supports-Making-Birth-Control-Pills-Available-OTC Wilson, J. (2012, 11 21). Physicians: Birth control should be sold without a prescription – CNN. com. Retrieved 12 01, 2012, from CNN health: http://www. cnn. com/2012/11/20/health/birth-control-over-the-counter/index. html

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