This issue strikes particularly close to my heart as a strident feminist, and to me seems like one of the greatest yet easiest to solve social injustice to women everywhere – needing a prescription for birth control. If you think about it, there are absolutely no good reasons for this requirement. One justification I have heard is that requiring a doctor’s appointment for women to get birth control helps women because it encourages them to get annual checkups. Except for the fact that recently released recommendations from THREE cancer-related medical groups state that women could go for a pap test every three years instead of annually. So that reason is no longer medically viable. The justification from Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, is that she was concerned about the safety of the pill for 11 year old girls – the flaw in that argument should be immediately apparent. So what is the justification for making birth control a controlled substance that can’t be sold over the counter? You can’t overdose on birth control, like you can on everyday pain pills. You can’t make illicit substances like you can with cough syrup. Birth control pills have been available for almost 40 years now, so the long-term consequences are well understood by now. When or if a male birth control comes onto the market, can you really see the FDA requiring that they go in for prostate exams just to get a prescription? And lest you think I am exaggerating for effect, PAP smears are JUST as invasive as prostate exams, just ask any female who has had to suffer through one. The only reason I can think of is habit – it has been controlled via prescription for this long, so let’s keep it that way, or it is another part of society’s paternalistic attitude towards women and their rights to control their own reproductive decisions. Which is disgusting and outdated. In a society where the women’s ability to control her reproduction is being constantly challenged (state by state harassment of Planned Parenthood, abstinence-only education, anti-abortion advocates, I could go on but I might have an apoplectic fit) let’s give ourselves this one win, right?