Hey FDA! Youth Want Birth Control Today!

Food and Drug Administration Advisory Committee on Opill

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. An application has  been submitted to the Food & Drug Administration, and they've announced that the hearing will be on May 9 and 10.

We need young people to speak out and tell the FDA that all ages must be able to access birth control pills. That's why we're collecting signatures for this youth sign-on letter to be delivered to the FDA.

Add your name now! Show the FDA that young people are watching, and we demand they stick by their mission to “follow the science,” which clearly shows that birth control pills should be available over-the-counter, covered by insurance, and free of age restrictions.

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Washington, DC

To: Food and Drug Administration Advisory Committee on Opill
From: [Your Name]

To the Joint Meeting of the Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee at the Food & Drug Administration (FDA):

As young people, we urge the FDA to follow the science and approve a birth control pill that is available over-the-counter and without age restriction.

There is no medical reason to limit access based on age. In fact, progestin-based emergency contraception (Plan B) is already available to all ages over-the-counter. To put an arbitrary age limit on who can access oral contraceptives would limit access to a vulnerable group of people who cannot afford fewer options to avoid unplanned pregnancy.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has stated “age should not be a barrier for access to hormonal contraception, and ACOG supports over-the-counter access for adolescents.” The American Academy of Family Physicians and American Medical Association also support OTC birth control pills for people of all ages. We as young people believe this reasoning falls into three main categories:

(1) We know birth control pills are safe: People have been using it safely for over 60 years and it is safer than other medications available over-the-counter, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. In fact, the American Medical Association recently stated, “Providing patients with OTC access to the birth control pill is an easy call from a public health perspective.” In fact, birth control pills are available without a prescription in over 100 countries.

(2) We know birth control pills are effective: When used correctly, it’s more than 99 percent effective.

(3) We know prescription-only access is a problem: A recent survey from Advocates for Youth found that the majority of young people around the country (88%) struggled to get birth control, and 55% faced so many obstacles they couldn’t get on birth control pills, leading to consequences such as pregnancy scares, a need to use emergency contraception, unplanned pregnancy, and abortion. The American Medical Association recently stated, “Access is one of the most cited reasons why patients do not use oral contraceptives, use them inconsistently, or discontinue use. Expanding OTC access would make it easier for patients to properly use oral contraceptives, leading to fewer unplanned pregnancies.”

It’s also important to remember that reproductive health care is being restricted across the country right now. Courts and legislatures are limiting or eliminating rights we’ve been guaranteed for decades and some politicians are even declaring that contraception should be banned and treated as an illegal substance. These developments make this an urgent issue.

There have been too many steps backward - but now the FDA has a chance to follow the science and move birth control access forward. Young people want progress. And we want to be able to protect our health and plan our futures. We ask the FDA to provide us the access we need.