Five years ago, American Congress of Obstetrician and Gynecologists released a policy statement that said allowing for easier access would bring down the rate of unintended pregnancy in the U.S. In 2012, when the statement was released, there was a 50 percent unintended pregnancy rate in America—a number too high for such a developed nation.
Since then, some states have allowed for some changes that did facilitate making birth control easier for women to get their hands on. In California, pharmacists are now allowed to give many types of birth control. Oregon is also on board, and allows for pharmacists to give a woman birth control without a prescription as long as she is 18, and can give birth control to women under 18 as long as she has some kind of prior birth control prescription.
Research has shown that there is no significant risk for younger women to use birth control versus women who are over 18. In fact, the younger a woman is on birth control, the less side effects she might have. Birth control becomes riskier to take for women who are older, putting them at a higher risk of having a blood clot when on the combination pill (that uses estrogen and progestin).
There is also no research to back up that allowing teens access to birth control would make them more prone to being sexually active, or engage in activities that are riskier.
"Teen pregnancy rates are way down in the U.S., and teenagers are using contraceptives more often," reports NPR. Guess what? Abortion rates are also down too.
One reason more women are using birth control is thanks to the Affordable Care Act, which states that women must be fully covered for their contraception, which includes many different types, not just the pill.
The good news is that the Republican plan to change the health care in America won't affect the part of the ACA that calls for mandatory coverage of contraceptives. So, women would still be covered.
However, the fight continues to make birth control over the counter, and available without having to jump through hoops and get a doctor to write a prescription. Especially for younger girls who don't feel comfortable telling their parents they need to go to the doctor for the prescription.
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