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The Pros And Cons Of Over The Counter Birth Control Pills

1377 words - 6 pages

Modern birth control pills were approved by the FDA in the 1960s. This was heralded

as a women’s revolution. No longer were they required to use sponges, diaphragms or condoms.

Birth control pills gave women the right to be in charge of their own conception or lack thereof.

This technological advance helped spur the sexual revolution of the late 1960s. However,

women are still required to see their doctor on a regular basis for continued prescriptions. Since

the safety of oral contraceptives has been touted and well established, why then is it not sold over


For centuries women have tried many means to prevent pregnancy. As far back as the

Ancient Egyptians women have use herbs, improvised diaphragms, withdrawal methods, and

abstinence to prevent or delay pregnancy. As time passed, many methods were used by various

civilizations. Some were effective such as certain herbs or condoms. Others were toxic such as

lead and mercury. Still others were more based in superstition such as wearing amulets made of

animal parts, these were of course very ineffective. Breastfeeding was found to delay pregnancy,

but due to rampant malnutrition, this caused many maternal and infant deaths.

Birth Control Pills

In the 1950’s, the search was on for a reliable oral contraceptive. Research began based

on herbal folk remedies used by Aztec women. It was found that some of herbs they were using

contained a form of progestin. Researchers were able to synthesize this hormone. Margaret

Sanger, one of the pioneers of modern birth control, founded Planned Parenthood which was an

organization to teach and distribute contraceptives. She found donors to contribute to her cause

and to the cause of making a birth control pill. Her investors funneled the money for clinical

Over the counter Birth Control Pills 3

trials. In 1960, the first birth control pill was released on the market.


The release of the first birth control pill was a major step forward for women. No longer

were they made to use ineffective birth control methods or rely on their partner to either

withdraw or use a condom. For the first time, women were placed in charge of their own

reproduction. This caused a Sexual Revolution in the United States. Women were able to

control this natural body process safely and discreetly. It was easily stopped when pregnancy

was desired. The introduction of the birth control pill allowed family sizes to decrease,

pregnancy spacing to increase and maternal/infant death rates to decline.


Pregnancy prevention has long been a point of contention by religious groups who

believe that contraception is ungodly. There are to this day doctors, hospitals and pharmacies

that refuse to discuss or dispense contraceptives. This can create a hardship for women in search

of them. Another large barrier to contraceptive access is cost. Women are required to see a

physician to obtain a prescription then pay for the...

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