May 2010, Washington, DC: Exploring what the research tells us and collaborating with reproductive health and justice advocates on a strategy moving forward

In May 2010, the working group convened a daylong meeting entitled “Oral contraceptives over-the-counter: Exploring what the research tells us and collaborating with reproductive justice advocates on a strategy moving forward.” Twenty-four people attended the meeting; participants included representatives of reproductive justice, women’s health, and youth-focused organizations. The purpose of the meeting was to explore in greater depth advocates’ concerns and questions about an over-the-counter switch for a progestin-only pill (POP). In addition, participants provided input on working group activities and discussed opportunities for advocates to remain engaged in the working group.

The meeting was organized around the topics of safety, cost, and health services and referrals; “expert resources” were brought to the table to address these topics and contribute to the discussion. Participants in the meeting agreed that a broad-based campaign to bring a POP over-the-counter appears to be supported by the available data on safety, and that an OTC POP product could increase access for some women. The final part of the meeting focused on next steps. Participants shared their questions and priorities for moving forward and also stated how they would like to stay involved in the working group.

The Oral Contraceptives Over-the-Counter Working Group is now the Free the Pill coalition!

We are excited to expand our work under the Free the Pill umbrella and continue to leverage the expertise of coalition members to improve and expand equitable contraceptive access. Please visit the Free the Pill website to learn more about the coalition and how organizations and professionals can get involved.

As part of this change, the OCs OTC website has been archived and is being kept available as a historical resource to highlight the work that members of the OCs OTC Working Group have been engaged in since 2004 to build the evidence in support of OTC birth control pills in the United States. If you have any questions about the Free the Pill coalition and our work, please reach out.