Most forms of birth control, even the pill, have fewer health risks than many over-the-counter drugs. So why require a prescription? (More)

More Video, Part I: Birth Control Should Be Available Over-the-Counter

This week Morning Feature offers more videos that explore important issues. Today we begin with Vox’s Sarah Kliff and Liz Scheltens explaining why most forms of birth control should be available over-the-counter. Tomorrow Vox’s Ezra Klein and Joe Posner explore how Intuit and other tax software companies block simplified auto-filing. Saturday we’ll conclude with Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) replying to mean tweets after he endorsed Hillary Clinton.

“Ask your doctor if birth control is right for you. Then ask your boss.”

Many Americans take Tylenol or other brands of acetaminophen for pain relief. Studies show it’s dangerous if taken for a prolonged period and/or if taken in higher than 350mg doses. But you can buy it over-the-counter or even online and it’s a common ingredient in many other over-the-counter drugs.

So why do you need a prescription for birth control pills? Vox’s Sarah Kliff and Liz Scheltens wondered the same thing:

“But isn’t birth control free now?”

Their concerns about cost may seem dated. After all, Obamacare covers birth control services with no co-pay, coinsurance, or deductible. So why does it matter if women need to see a doctor and get a prescription?

And that’s true, if your health insurance plan is covered by the Affordable Care Act. But insurance plans that existed before March 23, 2010 were grandfathered into the ACA and they might not cover birth control. Or maybe you can’t afford insurance and live in one of the 21 states that do not yet offer expanded Medicaid coverage:

Without insurance, birth control can be very expensive:

Until every woman has ACA-quality health care insurance, the cost of a doctor visit for a birth control prescription may still be the difference between access to safe, effective contraception … and an unwanted pregnancy.


Photo Credit: University of Kentucky Faculty Media Depot

Graphic Credits: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities,,


Happy Thursday!