Legal Over-The-Counter Oral Contraceptives For Teen Girls: Good Idea?

There has been a lot of buzz since the recent recommendation by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) that birth control pills are safe enough to be sold without the need for an accompanying doctor’s exam or prescription.

ACOG’s position is that easier access (over the counter access) to oral contraceptives could help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies in the United States. I would like to make it clear that even though the ACOG is making the recommendation for over the counter sales of birth control pills that this is not likely to happen soon. Government approval is clearly required and we do not know where our governing boards stand on this issue.

In my opinion, there is no easy answer to the question of whether or not it is beneficial for teenagers to have access to over the counter oral contraceptives. On the one hand, teenagers are less likely to be informed of the associated risks without a doctor’s visit. I also worry that they may select pills that may be contraindicated for them without a doctor getting a good medical history from them. On the other hand, unwanted pregnancy in a teenage girl’s life can be quite devastating and have life changing effects.