The Checkup: Should Birth Control Pills Be Available Without a Prescription?

OB-GYNs say yes.

• I know lots of women who are already taking advantage of the no-cost birth control mandate that went into effect back in August under the Affordable Care Act. But now the country’s leading group of obstetricians and gynecologists says the U.S. needs to go one step further, making birth control pills available over the counter without a doctor’s prescription. American Congress of Obstetrician and Gynecologists just released a new policy statement to this effect, arguing that if birth control were more readily available it would significantly decrease the country’s 50-percent unintended pregnancy rate, which ACOG president James T. Breeden says is “extremely high for a resource-rich country” in an interview with NPR’s Shots blog. The primary hurdle, of course, is the good ol’ FDA, which would have to decide that the benefits of OTC birth control outweigh the risks, which include increased risk for blood clots in some women. The ACOG isn’t particularly hopeful that the government will reverse its position any time soon without pressure from a drug maker. So, there’s that. But let’s talk about the fundamental question here, anyway: Do you think birth control pills should be available over the counter? Share your thoughts in the comments.

• You know how they say money can’t buy happiness? A new study found the inverse might be true—that happiness may bring you more money. Really! Read about it at the Los Angeles Times.

• Here’s a reason to take a walk and get some sunlight on your lunch break: New research shows vitamin D (a.k.a the sunshine vitamin) may help slow the production of cancerous cells. Here’s how.

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