OTC birth control pills is an idea that’s been around for a while. Planned Parenthood is on record as supporting the idea. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has also backed the idea in the past. Oddly, men tend to favor the idea more than women. A majority of men support the proposal (both Democrats and Republicans), but only a minority of women do. [See Figure] However, when the politics are removed from the issue most people view it favorably. Indeed, a poll by Reason found seven-in-ten of those surveyed believed it should be legal to purchase birth control pills and patches without a prescription.
Yet, when S. 1438 was announced, Senator Ayotte and her cosponsors were attacked. Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards issued a press release saying, “This bill is a sham and an insult to women.” An idea that many would ordinarily agree with is being opposed on political grounds — merely because insurers would not be legally required to pay for contraceptives purchased over the counter. The ACOG also opposes the bill — because it erroneously believes OTC birth control would be unaffordable without insurers paying for it.