ACOG Committee Opinion No. 788: Over-the-Counter Access to Hormonal Contraception


Barriers to access are one reason for inconsistent or nonuse of contraception. The requirement for a prescription can be an obstacle for some contraceptive users. Several studies have demonstrated that women are capable of using self-screening tools to determine their eligibility for hormonal contraceptive use. Pelvic and breast examinations, cervical cancer screening, and sexually transmitted infection screening are not required before initiating hormonal contraception and should not be used as reasons to deny access to hormonal contraception. Also, a plan to improve access to hormonal contraception should address cost issues. Pharmacist-provided contraception may be a necessary intermediate step to increase access to contraception, but over-the-counter access to hormonal contraception should be the ultimate goal. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists supports over-the-counter access to hormonal contraception without age restrictions. This Committee Opinion has been updated to expand the focus of over-the-counter contraception to include oral contraceptive pills, vaginal rings, the contraceptive patch, and depot medroxyprogesterone acetate, to address the role of pharmacist-provided contraception, and to provide recommendations for individuals younger than 18 years.

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Reference: Obstetrics & Gynecology: Oct 2019 – Volume 134 – Issue 4 – p e96–e105
doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000003473