Birth control pills are so safe and important to women that they should be sold on drugstore shelves, without a doctor's prescription, says a group representing many of the doctors who prescribe them.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) takes the perhaps-surprising stance in an opinion released today and published in the December issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
The group says it aims is to reduce unintended pregnancies. And it says it does not expect to lose patients if the switch ever occurs — something that experts agree will not happen quickly.
"Oral contraceptives are very safe, and data show women can make these decisions for themselves," says Kavita Nanda, a physician with FHI 360 (formerly known as Family Health International) in Durham, N.C., and a member of the committee that wrote the opinion.
Many reproductive health advocates are "pleasantly surprised and excited" that a major physicians group is endorsing an idea some have been pushing for years, says Kirsten Moore, president of the non-profit Reproductive Health Technologies Project, Washington, D.C.
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