Fact-Check: OTC Birth Control

In last night’s debate between Senator Kay Hagan and Speaker Thom Tillis, there was a lot of talk about birth control.  If you were listening closely, you heard something new: Speaker Tillis claimed to support increased access to birth control, and proposed to do this by making some forms of birth control available over-the-counter (OTC).

Don’t be mislead folks.  As our friends at Planned Parenthood Action Fund pointed out, “[o]pponents of women’s health are proposing to move birth control over-the-counter as a part of their larger effort to take away insurance coverage for birth control — forcing women to pay out-of-pocket instead of keeping the coverage they have today.”  The reality is that making some forms of birth control available OTC may increase access for some individuals, but birth control would become more expensive and less affordable for most women and families since most health insurance plans don’t cover OTC products without a prescription.

The lack of affordable contraception is a real problem that we encourage more lawmakers to sincerely address but making some forms of birth control available OTC is not a comprehensive solution.  A national survey from the Center for American Progress showed that in 2012 women with private insurance already paid about 50 percent of the total costs for oral contraceptives, while the typical cost of noncontraceptive drugs is only 33 percent.  The high cost of birth control has real, potentially harmful consequences. The same CAP survey found that the high cost of contraception forced many women to stop or delay using their preferred method of birth control while others were forced to depend on less effective methods because they were most affordable.  With 98% of American women using some form of birth control in their lifetimes, it’s long past due for lawmakers to recognize that birth control is basic and essential health care that should be both affordable and accessible.


Special Delivery: Broken Cookies for Broken Promises

On Thursday, July 24, NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina activists delivered broken cookies to the Governor’s Mansion to mark the up-coming one-year anniversary of Governor McCrory’s broken promise not to support restrictions on access to abortion care.  Last July, Governor McCrory signed into law Senate Bill 353, a series of restrictions on reproductive health care.  The next day, the governor delivered cookies to NARAL Pro-Choice NC and other reproductive rights advocates protesting his broken promise outside the Governor’s Mansion. “Governor McCrory broke his promise to North Carolina voters when he signed Senate Bill 353 into law last year, and today we are delivering broken cookies to remind him of his broken promise,” said NARAL Pro-Choice NC Executive Director Suzanne Buckley.

Watch our special delivery below:

What the Texas Decision Means for North Carolina Women


November 1, 2013

It’s Time to Put Women’s Health First

Durham, North Carolina.  Last night, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals granted anti-choice Texas attorney general Greg Abbott’s request that will allow Texas’ new admitting privileges requirement to go into effect immediately.  Local abortion providers estimate that the law will close up to 15 women’s health centers. As a result, many women will be denied access to a wide range of reproductive health care, including preventive services like cancer screenings and prenatal care.

This decision comes as North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) sets out to create new restrictions on women’s health centers in North Carolina that may include admitting privileges like the ones in Texas.  A new law passed this summer tasks DHHS with creating new guidelines for women’s health centers that offer abortion care.  “We are calling on officials at DHHS to let women’s health–not political ideology–guide the rule-making process, ” said Suzanne Buckley, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice NC.  “If Governor McCrory’s administration decides to put politics over safe, legal, and accessible health care, the consequences for North Carolina women will be devastating. Because of their political agenda, thousands of women and families could lose access to safe and affordable preventative care,” she added.


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