Hopkins-led study finds 'the pill' would be safe without prescription

A new Johns Hopkins study could fuel ongoing efforts to allow women to get birth control pills without seeing a doctor.

Bills pending in each house of the Maryland General Assembly would allow pharmacists to prescribe contraceptives.

The study led by researchers at Hopkins’ School of Medicine found that oral contraceptives can be sold safely over-the-counter to all women, including teens.

“Oral contraceptives are popular, safe and effective methods of pregnancy prevention for women and teens,” said Dr. Krishna Upadhya, a Hopkins assistant professor of pediatrics who led a group of pediatric, adolescent and women’s health experts in the study. “Our review emphasizes that any future over-the-counter pill has the potential to benefit teens, and there is no scientific rationale to restrict access based on age.”

For years some health and women’s rights advocates have pushed to make “the pill” more readily available as it is throughout much of the world. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists endorsed the idea in 2012, arguing over-the-counter access would further drive down abortion and teen pregnancy.

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