Tell Biden: Young People Want to #FreeThePill

President Joseph R. Biden and Vice-President Kamala D. Harris

If you've heard of #FreeThePill, then you know why we need access to birth control pills right on the shelves of our local CVS, Walgreens, Target, or corner store. The FDA is considering this now! While it is ultimately the FDA's decision, it's essential President Biden sees a groundswell of support from young people for this essential change. The FDA must be able to carefully weigh the scientific evidence without political interference.

Add your name to our petition! Show President Biden that we have heard his promise to “follow the science,” and we think that means birth control pills should be available over-the-counter, covered by insurance, and free of age restrictions.

Sponsored by
Washington, DC

To: President Joseph R. Biden and Vice-President Kamala D. Harris
From: [Your Name]

To the Biden-Harris Administration:

Birth control pills enable people to determine if and when they have children, but only if they have access to it, which currently requires a prescription and is made affordable through insurance. For youth, especially low-income and marginalized youth, the obstacles to gaining and filling a prescription for birth control are often difficult to overcome and medically unnecessary. We, the undersigned young people, have heard your promise to “follow the science,” and we think that means birth control pills should be available over-the-counter, covered by insurance, and free of age restrictions.

When an application to move a birth control pill over the counter goes to the Food and Drug Administration, we will be watching closely as the FDA weighs the scientific evidence presented for doing so. We expect your Administration to follow the science and allow support from the medical community to speak for itself.

The birth control pill is one of the most well-studied and safest medications available and the research cited below shows it already meets standards that would fit the FDA’s guidelines for over-the-counter-sale. Numerous studies, including those published in the American Journal of Obstetric Gynecology (Schwingl, Ory, and Visness 1999), the Lancet (WHO Collaborative, 1996), the Journal of Adolescent Health (Upadhya et al 2017), and BMJ (Hannaford et al 2010) have demonstrated the safety of birth control pills.

Bringing the birth control pill over-the-counter would enable more people to use the pill consistently and correctly, thereby helping to prevent unintended pregnancies in the US and allowing young people the ability to live their lives on their own terms. A 2010 study by Potter et al in the American Journal of Public Health indicates that making the pill available over-the-counter would improve continuation of birth control use, which has positive indications for unplanned pregnancy prevention. Two studies conducted in the US found that between 40 and 60% of non-birth control users said they would be more likely to use birth control pills if they were available in a pharmacy over-the-counter (Potter et al 2013). In one study, 62% of participants were in favor of the birth control pill being made available over-the-counter, and nearly 40% said they would be more likely to use the pill if it were available without a prescription (Grossman et al 2013).

Young people use birth control pills safely to prevent pregnancy, but also to manage conditions like endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), dysmenorrhea, and primary ovarian insufficiency (POI). Research shows that the birth control pill provides other medical benefits as well: a study in the medical journal The Lancet showed that over the last 50 years the pill has prevented 200,000 cases of ovarian cancer and 100,000 deaths from the disease.

Furthermore, medical professional groups, such as The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the American Medical Association, and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) support bringing the pill over-the-counter. Young people are tired of jumping through hoops to access the contraception they need, and the science shows that the pill is safe and effective and current barriers point to the need to move it over-the-counter.

Young people across the nation have heard your promises to improve access to reproductive health care for all who need it and to prioritize science when making public health decisions. We expect you to keep your promises as an application for an over-the-counter birth control pill comes to the FDA.