US/World

Free The Pill Day: Women Push For Birth Control Pills Without Prescription

May 9, 2019 is the 59th anniversary of the time the Food and Drug Administration approved the birth control pill. But women activists in the U.S. grabbed the chance to slam the bill by making the #FreeThePill hashtag trend across social media. The move was done in hopes of making birth control pills accessible to all without the need of a doctor’s prescription.

The international nonprofit organization Ibis Reproductive Health initiated the #FreeThePill movement urging the government to remove the prescription requirement when purchasing women’s contraceptive pills. Supporters of the movement took to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to voice out their protest against the government for requiring a doctor’s prescription in order for women to be given the contraceptive pills.

According to a Twitter post by Ibis Reproductive Health employee Steph Synoracki, women are at a disadvantage when opting for the contraceptive pills. She said that there's the burden of extra costs for transportation, missing work and the doctor’s fee just to acquire a prescription for the pills, reported CNN.

Twitter user Rebecca Blaylock opined that women should not be subjected to unnecessary protocols in accessing products as an exercise of their reproductive rights. She also noted that women have a hard time purchasing the pills at a reasonable price while Viagra for men can easily be bought over the counter.

Sexual health nonprofit Advocates For Youth supporter Rebecca Thimmesch also claimed that young people are deprived of sufficient health care when opting for contraceptives. Allowing the sale without the prescription will make it easier for them to exercise their reproductive rights especially when some of them are financially challenged to maintain the costs associated with the prescription mandate.

Globally, contraceptive pills are widely available. In the U.S. and some 20 countries, however, a prescription is required before a woman is allowed to purchase a monthly supply of the products, revealed FreeThePill.org. When women buy from pharmacies, they are charged more depending on the brand of the pills. Moreover, women are also required to obtain these prescriptions through doctor’s visits to maintain their prescribed pills and annual cervical smears.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Pediatric Society issued a statement earlier this week, saying in Canada alone, more than 25 percent of young women do not use birth control pills consistently. This results in about 59,000 unplanned pregnancies every year. Like in the U.S., Canadian contraceptive care providers also place a hefty charge for doctor’s consultations.

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