Attorney General Bonta Leads 21 States to Urge FDA to Approve Nation’s First Over-the-Counter Birth Control Pill | State of California – Department of Justice

If approved, the pill would be available to buy without a prescription, removing barriers to accessing safe and timely reproductive care.

OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced the leadership of a multi-state coalition of 21 attorneys general in submitting a letter urging the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve birth control pills over-the-counter products that meet applicable safety and efficacy standards. , including a pending request for the country’s first over-the-counter pill. If approved, safe and effective birth control pills will be available for purchase over-the-counter, removing the barriers that currently prevent many people from accessing safe and timely reproductive care. In the letter, the attorneys general argue that approving the pill would give individuals — especially those in vulnerable populations — greater control over their health, lives and futures, and help them avoid the health and economic perils that come with it. unwanted pregnancies.

“California is a proud state of reproductive freedom, and we continue to lead efforts to protect, expand and strengthen access to this freedom nationwide, including supporting efforts to expand access to controlled safe and effective births”, said Attorney General Bonta. “It’s not just about a pill, it’s about empowering people, especially people of color, people from low-income families or rural communities. It’s about breaking down the barriers that imprison them in lives they didn’t choose. Every individual deserves equal access to the reproductive care they need, and I remain committed to the fight to ensure that access.

The FDA is currently reviewing an application to approve a birth control pill, named Opill, for over-the-counter use. If approved, people in need of a contraceptive could, for the very first time, walk into a pharmacy and buy it without a prescription.

In the open letter to the FDA, the attorneys general say the pill should be approved for over-the-counter use because:

  • It has proven to be safe and effective for most users: Studies show that progestin-only pills, like Opill, carry a much lower risk of blood clots than traditional birth control pills that combine estrogen and progestin, because they contain synthetic progestin and no estrogen. And studies of progestin-only birth control pills show that they are over 90% effective in preventing unwanted pregnancies – more effective than methods such as spermicide, condoms or sponges.
  • This would remove barriers to obtaining a contraceptive that many face: Researchers say that one-third of adults in the United States who have ever tried to get prescription contraception said they face difficulties, such as getting an appointment, traveling for visits to the clinic or browsing restrictions on the amount they can buy monthly. Additionally, a third of contraceptive users say they forgot to take their contraceptive because they couldn’t get their next supply on time. An over-the-counter birth control pill would eliminate many of these challenges and reduce the risk of people being forced into unwanted pregnancies due to circumstances beyond their control.
  • It would provide essential assistance to people from vulnerable populations: Barriers to birth control access disproportionately impact people of color, low-income families, and people living in rural areas, who are more often underinsured or uninsured, and therefore have more difficulty getting the reproductive care they need. OTC options would go a long way to reducing these inequalities and making the healthcare system more equitable and accessible to all. The benefits of such a system include lower maternal mortality rates, less poverty, higher levels of physical and mental health, and more economic freedom and opportunity for vulnerable communities.

In the letter, the attorneys general point out that the approval of an over-the-counter birth control pill is supported by the medical community. Three major medical organizations in the United States – the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Medical Association, and the American Academy of Family Physicians – support the availability of contraceptives without a prescription. In addition, birth control pills are already available over the counter in about 100 countries, including Mexico.

The attorneys general also say that following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade earlier this year, many states banned or restricted abortion care, narrowing choices for those seeking reproductive care and making access to birth control even more critical nationwide, including for Californians who can travel, live, work or study in anti-abortion states.

Supporting, expanding and protecting reproductive freedoms is a top priority for Attorney General Bonta: In October, the Attorney General launched the California Reproductive Rights Task Force, bringing together legal and law enforcement partners to protect reproductive rights in the state and published a newsletter. California law enforcement to approach out-of-state agencies that may seek to investigate, arrest, or prosecute foreign patients seeking reproductive care in the state. He also led 23 attorneys general across the country in filing a letter supporting the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ new rule establishing broader access to abortion care for veterans and their beneficiaries. In September, the attorney general led a multistate coalition of 21 attorneys general in an amicus brief supporting a motion by reproductive rights advocates seeking to end enforcement of several Texas anti-abortion laws, launched a consumer alert to help Californians protect their privacy while accessing procreation. or abortion care, and issued legal guidance on prohibiting extradition of individuals providing or accessing reproductive care in California. In June, it issued guidelines on abortion rights and protections under California law, which remain fully intact, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade. It also issued a California consumer alert warning Californians seeking reproductive health services of the limited and potentially misleading nature of services provided by Crisis Pregnancy Centers, and outlined health app obligations under California law to protect and secure reproductive health information.

In filing the open letter, Attorney General Bonta is joined by the attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

A copy of the letter is available here.

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