Your World. Your Stories. Everyday.


Your World. Your Stories. Everyday.


Your World. Your Stories. Everyday.


Over-the-counter birth control pills are a huge win for reproductive health rights

Ell Macias
Opill being approved for over-the-counter purchase marks a milestone in reproductive help and the accessibility of related medication

The FDA approved Opill, an oral birth control pill, to be sold over the counter this past July. In the upcoming weeks, Opill will be available for consumer purchase, which will greatly increase access to reproductive protection.

For the past 51 years, Opill could only be acquired through a doctor’s prescription. It is now the first birth control contraceptive to be sold over the counter. The FDA reported Opill to be 98% effective in preventing unplanned pregnancy, however, for the contraceptive to work, users must take the pill daily and follow the directions listed. Side effects of Opill could include vomiting, stomach and abdominal pain, headaches, irregular hunger patterns, and more. 

There are two different types of birth control pills: combination pills and progestin-only pills, also known as mini pills. Combination pills have both estrogen and progestin hormones, whereas progestin-only pills contain no estrogen. Opill is a progestin-only contraceptive. According to Dr. Carolyn Sufrin, “Because Opill is a progestin-only pill, it has a very low danger level and is even considered to be safer than drugs like Tylenol.”

Although its roll-out is expected to take time, the contraceptive will eventually be stocked at grocery stores, pharmacies, and the Opill website. At stores, consumers can find Opill in the family planning aisle, where condoms and pregnancy tests are kept. The price will range from $19.99 to $49.99, depending on the amount needed. Perrigo, the pharmaceutical company behind Opill, is working to create financial assistance programs.

Over-the-counter birth control pills are essential in making reproductive care more accessible. It is no longer necessary to have insurance and medical connections to get a prescription, which has been a barrier for people of different economic backgrounds. In addition, proximity to a doctor’s office is less likely to impact accessibility, since Opill is now available in local stores and online. This is beneficial for those who live in rural areas or medical deserts, which are areas with low or unsatisfactory medical options. According to Web MD, 19 million US women lived in a contraceptive desert in 2018, without family planning or reproductive care.

Opill will also increase racial and cultural equality for contraceptive use. People of color are more likely to face disadvantages when obtaining birth control, especially black women. A study run by the Pew Research Center found that Black women ages 18-49 reported unpleasant visits with their doctor at a much higher rate. This, along with contraceptive desserts, and other forms of medical oppression, is a result of the systemic racism present in healthcare. Language barriers are another factor in contraceptive accessibility. The Oman Medical Journal published findings that 65% of non-English speakers struggled with healthcare, and 20% avoided it altogether. Now, with the option to buy Opill over the counter or online, all individuals can obtain this form of birth control in the easiest way for them.

In a survey run by Advocates for Youth, 88% of young young people surveyed faced difficulties getting birth control. 55% also reported “pregnancy scares’ ‘ and 20% eventually became pregnant. Improved access to birth control directly impacts the rate of teen pregnancy, which affects 3% of the United States population ages 15-19. 

Taking the daily pill is the most common form of contraceptives for young women. Since this population still relies on parental insurance or is newly independent, they are unlikely to receive more permanent options, such as contraceptive implants or sterilization. Fear of parent confrontation or affordability were factors that discouraged young women from receiving birth control, but now Opill provides more independent opportunities to receive reproductive care.

Birth control has other purposes besides protection against pregnancy. Birth control can help also regulate period cramps, headaches, excessive bleeding, and migraines. There are many reasons a person may choose to get on birth control, but not all of them require a doctor’s consultation.

While Opill will be beneficial for the general public, it is not a perfect solution. For one, cost may still be a barrier for low-income families. Although Perrigo promoted a financial support system, it is unclear how or when this will occur. In addition, Opill costs slightly more than male sexual health products, such as Viagra, which can start as low as $18.00 at Walgreens. That being said, it is a great first step in making reproductive health products more equal and accessible for all.

After the 2022 Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v Wade, the availability of reproductive care changed. Not all states have Planned Parenthood or other sexual health organizations as a resource, and many districts are targeting sex education courses. With so much uncertainty occurring, it is crucial that birth control options like Opill can be found in cheaper and more convenient circumstances. Not all people will choose to go on birth control, but no one should face discrimination when trying to obtain it. 

Leave a Comment
About the Contributors
Lindsey Hall
Lindsey is the Spotlight Editor of the Stampede, and this is her second year on Staff. She is involved in Best Buddies, Book Club, and the National English Honors Society here at Metea. When Lindsey is not writing, she can be found trying to predict the next Taylor Swift re-recording, reading, or re-watching Gilmore Girls.
Ell Macias
This is Ell’s first year of being a part of the Visuals team on the Newspaper staff. They have a passion for capturing candid moments in photography, which is what motivated them to work in their section. Typically, they are painting, sketching, or working on dioramas during their downtime and will never beat the artist stereotype of carrying a sketchbook everywhere they go. Furthermore, they will never turn down the opportunity to talk about goth bands.

Comments (0)

Thank you for adding your voice to the conversation. Please note that all comments are moderated. Metea Media will not publish comments if they contain the following:

▸ Rude or obscene language (i.e. swear words, sexual jokes, violent threats, etc.)
▸ Hate speech (i.e. racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.)
▸ Insults towards a specific student or a teacher
▸ Content that is irrelevant to the article or does not add to the discussion
▸ Submitting comments under somebody else's name

Refer to the student handbook for further specifics on what is considered appropriate.

The Social Media Editor will read and evaluate all comments. Should there be any issues with a particular comment, the Social Media Editor will consult the newspaper adviser and Online Editor-in-Chief.
All METEA MEDIA Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *