Health Alert 11-20: Should Birth Control Pills Be Available Over The Counter?

By: Teresa Garcia
By: Teresa Garcia

An influential group of doctors is calling for birth control pills to be sold without a prescription and it's sparking mixed reaction.

Some say it will "benefit women in general in their daily life and schedule" while others believe it could give the wrong message.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says making it easier to get oral contraceptives should help cut down on unwanted pregnancies.

"We don't want anyone to say, oh I waited for an appointment I couldn't get one. My doctor was too busy," said Dr. Jacques Moritz/Roosevelt Hospital.

Doctors say birth control pills carry a small risk - mostly for women with high blood pressure or women who smoke. The pill has been shown to be very, very safe. There is a small chance to develop blood clots.

The doctor's group points out aspirin and acetaminophen are on drug store shelves even though they have health risks. But critics say birth control pills can be much more dangerous.

"They make it sound like it's nothing more than an aspirin when it very definitely is more than that. All you have to do is open up the instructions when you buy a package and you see all the health risks that are listed there," said Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse/Concerned Women of America.

Others are uneasy about eliminating a doctor's supervision.

The ACOG says there are simple checklists women can use to determine if the pill is right for them. T

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