This month, the FDA approved a birth control pill called Opill for over-the-counter pharmacy distribution. This is amazing news for reproductive autonomy.
While many folks are lucky enough to have insurance and access to competent reproductive healthcare, others aren’t as fortunate in that respect. Lack of transportation, availability during healthcare business hours, childcare, and more may interfere with an individual’s ability to see a doctor consistently. While these issues definitely need to be addressed and corrected, having birth control available at the pharmacy is a small step toward greater access to needed healthcare.
The ability to limit one’s family size is an integral part of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Before birth control was available, families had only a few ways to prevent unwanted pregnancies: either abstinence, or unreliable methods like pulling out or the “rhythm” method. To complicate this, a lot of information on sexual health was illegal to distribute (just search Comstock Laws on Google!) Now that it’s easier to prevent pregnancy, individuals and couples can choose to create families in a way that’s appropriate them. Being able to decide how many children you would like has allowed families to succeed financially, emotionally, and in familial relationships.
For some people, having lots of children is what they want; for others, no children at all is the right decision. Both of these options, and everything in between, must be available to achieve true reproductive freedom.
In a country where reproductive choice is being attacked by legislators, making preventive options more widely available is important. While abortion is available in Connecticut — another important aspect of reproductive freedom — preventing unintended and unwanted pregnancies to begin with is ideal. More accessible choices for birth control helps people decide for themselves, with fewer barriers, how they want to build their families, if they want to at all.
Let’s continue to work toward making healthcare – including reproductive healthcare and birth control – more accessible to all.
Kimberly Adamski is a sex educator who lives in West Hartford.