The following is a statement from Iffath Abbasi Hoskins, MD, FACOG, president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG):
“The submission of an application to the Food and Drug Administration for over-the-counter status of a progestin-only oral contraception is an important step toward dramatically increasing access to birth control across the country. Reflecting the robust body of scientific evidence, ACOG has long supported true over-the-counter access to hormonal contraceptives. Although some legislative approaches have increased access in some states, requirements such as pharmacist dispensing still remain as barriers for many. True over-the-counter access to hormonal contraception through FDA regulatory decision-making will provide benefits to many people: it will enable people to begin using contraception when they are ready; it will provide them with a bridge between clinician-supported contraception plans; and it will help them overcome existing financial, societal, and personal barriers.
“Data have shown that people in need of contraception are capable of using self-screening tools to determine whether hormonal contraception is right for them. Although no medical intervention is without risk, scientific evidence has concluded that over-the-counter access to oral contraception can be accomplished safely and that the overall benefit of increased access to contraception is significant. We encourage the FDA to review the robust body of evidence supporting the safety and efficacy of over-the-counter birth control and make a decision that is grounded in science.
“Amidst the current reproductive health crisis, today’s news is positive. We know that birth control is not a solution to abortion bans, as people need abortion care for many reasons. However, by increasing access to birth control through over-the-counter oral contraception, we have an opportunity to empower more people to control their own reproductive futures, including avoiding pregnancy. In addition to private conversations with their trusted obstetrician-gynecologist or through new routes of access like over-the-counter access, it is critical that all people have reproductive autonomy without burdens, barriers, or restrictions.”