FDA Panel Backs First Over-the-Counter Birth Control Pill

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The Facts

  • On Wednesday, a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel voted unanimously in support of making prescription birth control medication Opill available over the counter for the first time in the US.

  • The panel reportedly focused on whether women, including adolescents, could take the pill safely and effectively on their own. They agreed that the benefits of making Opill available over the counter far outweigh the risks of inappropriate use.

The Spin

Left narrative

This is a historic step forward for reproductive health, women’s rights, and social justice, with the barriers of systemic inequities in the US healthcare system falling hardest on people of color and lower-income women. Moreover, switching the birth control pill from prescription to over-the-counter will improve equitable access to contraception and reproductive autonomy for thousands of women who are prevented from getting the abortion care they need.

Right narrative

The evidence provided on the safety and effectiveness of Opill is outdated, flawed, and relies on low-quality studies. There's no assurance that women with limited literacy would use it accurately or comply with directions to abstain from sex if they missed a dose. If Opill is approved without an age restriction, teens and adolescents will likely become sexually active and gravitate to drug stores across the US.

Metaculus Prediction

Political split



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