DC bill would ease access to birth control pills

By Sahil Kapur
Wednesday, February 16, 2011 12:13 EDT
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WASHINGTON – A new bill introduced in the DC council would allow women to buy birth control pills over the counter without a doctor’s prescription, according to the Washington Post.

The measure, put forth by DC Council member David Catania, would end a long-running law in this city that requires a doctor’s authorization to obtain the pills and instead allow women to purchase them directly from a pharmacist.

“At this point, in this city, it’s already a challenge for many women in underserved communities to get the appointments and then find a pharmacy,” Catania, an independent, told the Post. “I think it’s a way to expand access to contraception and to conserve valuable resources.”

The legislation does not set an age requirement to purchase birth control pills, as Catania says such decisions should be left up to expert regulators rather than lawmakers.

Catania, who is chairman of the council’s Committee on Health, has enlisted the support of the abortion and health services provider Planned Parenthood, which says the bill would help combat unwanted pregnancies.

But issues of quality and approval remain, as any new string of over-the-counter birth control pills would need to be heavily tested for risks and find a way to be marketed appropriately.

The bill may face a collision course with the Food and Drug Administration, which said the use of birth control pills must occur in tandem with advice from a physician, as they can have dangerous side effects for some women.

FDA spokeswoman Shelly Burgess told the Post the issue falls under a “gray area.”

“It’s not something we can definitively speak about as it being against FDA regulations,” she said. “It depends.”

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  • Anonymous

    Wish someone would video the typical doctor’s appointment (from start to finish) for birth control pills.

    Probably two hours spent making the appointment, getting to the doctors office, waiting your turn, 5 minutes with the doctor, settling payment with insurance and co-pay, travel home. And I doubt the average doctor will even mention side effects.

  • Anonymous

    Finally, a commonsense approach to healthcare. Wish there were more elected council members who put the needs of their constituents before big business & lobbyists.

    Easier access to contraception would certainly cut down on unwanted pregnancies & abortions.

  • Anonymous

    “The bill may face a collision course with the Food and Drug Administration, which said the use of birth control pills must occur in tandem with advice from a physician, as they can have dangerous side effects for some women.”

    What side effects? How common are they? Many tens of millions of women in the US have used them safely for decades. If it can’t be shown that the risks are greater than those found in current OTC drugs there would be no reason to require a prescription.

  • Anonymous

    Just what this country needs, more unwanted births. Another way the GOBP looks to get big gubmint out of our lives.

  • http://twitter.com/btmfdrsheaven rebecca meritt

    A way for women to have control of their own lives without meeting resistance from someone else is a hard thing to even hope for. We are one big prostitution ring,if you’re going to have sex everyone wants in on the action,the dr. wants to get paid to check you out and protect you $150, the evangelical wants $30 a month sin insurance, the pharmacist wants his $75 plus a monthly fee split with the drug company,and don’t let it be Feb.14,Godiva wants a share as well as the jeweler.Turn the lights out everybody’s watching.

  • Anonymous

    This will just ignite yet another black market. When will politicians learn? Oh, right. Never.

  • Phil E. Drifter

    Hillary is really getting desperate isn’t she.

  • Phil E. Drifter

    There was just a ‘doc’ busted in Philly no more than a month or two ago; he was putting the patient out, inducing birth, and then cutting the fetuses to pieces. They found fetus pieces in a fridge. He was performing all these late term abortions, which I think are illegal in PA though I’m not sure, it’s been a while since I had an abortion.

    He was doin’ friggin’ dentistry too.

  • Phil E. Drifter

    They gotta fund their pet projects somehow.