Why does the pill require a prescription in the U.S.?

Published: Friday, October 10, 2014 @ 6:08 AM
Updated: Friday, October 10, 2014 @ 6:08 AM

Trending on Facebook

More popular and trending stories

A few political ads this campaign season raise a really interesting question: Why does birth control require a prescription in the U.S.?

CORY GARDNER, Colorado candidate for Senate (R): "I believe the pill ought to be available over the counter, round the clock without a prescription."

There are politics to the debate to be sure, but we were more curious about the underlying question. 

As it turns out, worldwide, the U.S. is in the minority in requiring a prescription to get the pill. Only about a third of the world's countries limit access, including Canada, Australia and Japan. Countries like China, Russia, and Mexico offer the drugs over the counter. 

So what's the rationale behind requiring a prescription?

Proponents say the pill can increase women's risk for blood clots, heart attacks and stroke, especially among smokers and older women. The thinking there is — under a physician's direction, those risks are mitigated. 

But many over-the-counter drugs, like aspirin, which can cause stomach bleeding, also have potentially serious risks and don't require a prescription. 

On top of that, critics of the current prescription-only system argue women can do the research and decide for themselves whether they're good candidates for birth control. 

Critics like The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says unplanned birth rates would likely go down in the U.S. if prescriptions were no longer required to get contraceptive pills.

In 2012, it found 60 percent of women not currently using contraceptives would begin using them if they became available over the counter. 

>> More popular and trending stories

And consider this: Sales of nicotine replacement therapies went up by 150 to 200 percent the first year they were offered without a prescription. 

The Food and Drug Administration would have to approve any changes to oral contraception's prescription-required status. There aren't plans to do that yet, but as we mentioned earlier, there are a couple Republican candidates for Senate who are calling for it to happen. 

Cynics will say that's a move to skirt Obamacare requirements that insurance companies completely cover the cost of birth control. 

Or as two Health Affairs writers put it, "replace one barrier (ease of access) with another (cost)."

And that's why proponents of change in general say — in order to really improve access to oral contraceptives — both have to happen: Over the counter status as well as preserving the requirement insurance companies cover the cost. 

Ohio legislature looking for compromise on state budget today

Published: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 @ 2:41 PM


            A conference committee in the Ohio legislature is expected to work out differences between Senate and House versions of the state budget. Both houses are scheduled to vote tomorrow.

Public budget deliberations resume today at 3 p.m. when the Ohio General Assembly’s conference committee reconvenes.

The committee will resolve differences between the $132.7 billion 2018-2019 budget approved by the Ohio Senate last week and the $122.9 billion version approved by the Ohio House earlier in the year.

RELATED: Senate passes $132.7B state budget which freezes Medicaid enrollment

Legislators are grappling with a $1.05 billion projected revenue shortfall over the biennium, which is being covered through budget cuts.

RELATED: Panel begins work to fill $1.05 billion state budget revenue shortfall

The Ohio House and Senate are expected to vote on the conference committee bill on Wednesday.

The Ohio Constitution requires that the budget be balanced and in place by July 1.

Among the issues are:

- A debate over freezing Medicaid expansion enrollment

- How to replacing local county and transit authority revenue lost the Medicaid sales tax that cannot be charged starting July 1.

- Temporarily changing graduation requirements.

RELATED: Ohio Senate OK’s softer graduation rules for Class of 2018

- A small business tax cut Democrats want to repeal.

RELATED: State may reduce a tax break for small businesses

- Adding civil penalties for businesses that do not comply with a new concealed carry law.

RELATED: Businesses may face penalties for prohibiting guns in private vehicles

Thunderbird pilot remains hospitalized 4 days after jet crash

Published: Saturday, June 24, 2017 @ 11:33 AM
Updated: Monday, June 26, 2017 @ 8:32 AM

UPDATE @ 2:44 p.m. (June 27):

Hospital officials said Thunderbirds Capt. Erik Gonsalves remains at Miami Valley Hospital Tuesday afternoon.

UPDATE @3:09 a.m. (June 27): 

Thunderbirds Capt. Erik Gonsalves continues to receive treatment at Miami Valley Hospital this morning.

Gonsalves suffered leg injuries when the F-16 jet he was flying in went off a runway on landing and flipped over.

RELATED: Thunderbird pilot remains hospitalized, mishap investigation continues

UPDATE @ 12:43 p.m. (June 26):

The military is investigating the crash involving a Thunderbirds F-16 jet prior to the Vectren Dayton Air Show this past weekend, according to U.S. Air Force officials.

RELATED: Thunderbird jet crashes ahead of Vectren Dayton Air Show

The jet will be housed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base during the investigation, according to officials.

The Thunderbirds are expected to speak with the media to provide an update on their flight team on Thursday in Traverse City, Michigan ahead of their next performance at the National Cherry Festival Saturday, the Air Force said.

Earlier, the Air Force told this news organization the NTSB was investigating the crash, however they’ve since clarified that statement. The NTSB is not involved in the investigation, a spokesperson said.

UPDATE @ 11:22 a.m. (June 26):

The United States Air Force Thunderbirds will resume flying operations today, June 26 after the squadron departs Dayton for its home station at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. The team will hold routine practices Tuesday.

"Capt. Gonsalves remains in the hospital and is surrounded by loved ones," said Lt. Col. Jason Heard on Facebook. "I have full faith and confidence in our team to conduct the mission safely, we look forward to returning to flying operations."

UPDATE @ 9:47 a.m. (June 26):

The Thunderbirds will be taking off at 10:30 a.m. and the injured pilot is expected to be staying at the hospital for a couple more days, officials announced this morning.

Thunderbirds Capt. Erik Gonsalves has had two surgeries, but his injuries are less serious than initially thought, according to officials. 

RELATED: Attendance numbers released for 2017 air show

The damaged plane will be staying here locally and once able, it will be transported to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, officials said.

UPDATE @8:30 a.m. (June 26)

Thunderbirds Capt. Erik Gonsalves continues to receive treatment at Miami Valley Hospital.

A condition for Gonsalves was not available.

>> Air Show draws large crowds despite Thunderbirds crash

UPDATE @ 11:15 a.m. (June 25)

Thunderbirds Capt. Erik Gonsalves remains a patient at Miami Valley Hospital after he was extricated from an F-16 that overturned on the runway Friday at the Dayton International Airport.

Gonsalves Tweeted Saturday a picture of himself in the hospital bed stating, “Thanks for all the love and support. I'm doing okay. More to follow, I'm thankful for all our friendships.”

Staff Sgt. Kenneth Cordova was the passenger in the F-16. He was extricated from the aircraft and taken to the hospital where he has since been released.

Friday’s mishap forced the Thunderbirds to cancel their performances at this weekend’s Vectren Dayton Air Show.

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Jason Heard, Thunderbirds commanding leader, said Friday’s ‘mishap’ is under investigation and what caused it has not been determined.

Heard said upon landing after a “single-ship familiarization flight,” the fighter jet overturned on the runway and sustained damage, temporarily trapping Gonsalves and Cordova in the aircraft.

EARLIER

As the Vectren Dayton Air Show kicks off Saturday some visitors came to the show, unaware of Friday’s Thunderbird crash and cancellation of their performance Saturday.

Michael Werchowski, 44, brought his 11-year-old son, Miles, hoping to see the Thunderbirds, but didn’t know they weren’t performing until he arrived at Dayton International Airport.

>>WATCH LIVE PERFORMANCES FROM SATURDAY’S SHOW

It was the first air show for both.

“We’ve never seen a Blue Angels or Thunderbirds show before, but it is what it is,” Michael Werchowski, who drove in from Powell near Columbus for the show.

Miles didn’t seem fazed.

“I’m just here to see planes,” he said.

A two seat F-16 Thunderbird jet overturned at the airport after landing Friday, trapping the pilot and passenger until they were freed by first responders. 

RELATED: Thunderbird jet crashes ahead of Vectren Dayton Air Show

Both were hospitalized and reported in good condition. One team member has been released. The Thunderbirds have not yet made an announcement on whether they will perform at Sunday’s show.

Charles and Theresa Cooper, both 60, moved to New Lebanon in December after 40 years in California. The two grew up in the Miami Valley.  

“I’ve never been to the air show,” Theresa Cooper said. “I’ve never come. “It’s pretty exciting.”  

The couple were driving near the airport Friday when they spotted emergency vehicles and heard about the Thunderbird jet mishap.  

“So sad,” she said.  

Charles Cooper said he wanted to come to the air show anyway partly because of the region’s heritage as the birthplace of aviation. “Living in California, you don’t realize how much this region has to offer until you come back,” he said.

Gary and Linda Kish drove four hours from St. Clairsville near Wheeling, W.V., with two grandchildren, Jayden, 6, and Weston, 4, but weren’t deterred from coming when they heard the Thunderbirds canceled the Saturday show.

“We were eating ice cream when we heard about it,” Jayden said.

“It’ still a good time,” said Gary Kish, 64. “We’re just glad (the two Thunderbird two members) are OK.”

“What are you going to do?” asked Linda Kish. 

Trump’s travel ban: What they are saying about the Supreme Court decision

Published: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 @ 10:18 AM

A woman pushes a stroller near a sign for international arrivals at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Monday, June 26, 2017, in Seattle. The U.S. Supreme Court said Monday that President Donald Trump's travel ban on visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen can be enforced if those visitors lack a

The Supreme Court’s decision on Monday to allow portions of President Donald Trump’s executive order banning travel to the Unites States from certain countries to be reinstated has left many unanswered questions. 

And while the administration can restrict certain groups of people from entering the country beginning as early as Thursday, the answer to what else Trump is legally allowed to do when it comes to immigration may not come until the fall when the justices will hear arguments about the case.

Here’s what other media outlets are saying about the ruling.

What the Supreme Court’s travel ban ruling means

The Washington Post

“The Supreme Court’s decision to allow portions of President Trump’s travel ban to take effect is a win for the administration, but the impact will be far less severe than President Trump’s initial version of the measure.

That is because the high court effectively allowed Trump to ban from coming to the United States only citizens of six majority-Muslim countries “who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” It also nudged the president to complete his promised review of vetting procedures, which might mean the issue is resolved by the time the court is set to fully consider the ban in its October term.

For now, if you are not a U.S. citizen and have a relative here, have been hired by a U.S. employer or admitted to an American university, you can still probably get a visa. But if you’re applying cold as a visitor or through the diversity visa program, you probably can’t.”

>> Read more trending news

Court's travel ban ruling gives Trump a boost, changes media narrative

Fox News

“Nine justices delivered a reminder yesterday of why the Supreme Court was such an important campaign issue.

In allowing key parts of President Trump’s travel ban to take effect, the high court—with help from Trump’s man Neil Gorsuch—upended the conventional wisdom on the case. After all, in agreeing to hear the case in October, the justices could have left the temporary stay in place pending a final ruling.

Instead, they sent a strong signal to the appellate courts that they had gone too far in blocking the executive order—and enabled the president to claim “a clear victory for our national security.”

But the court also obliterated the existing media narrative, which is that the travel ban was a badly botched, unconstitutional overreach by Trump.”

Supreme Court's compromise on travel ban raises big questions for US tourism industry

Forbes

“After battling through lower courts, a watered down version of the travel ban was re-instated Monday, following the Supreme Court’s decision to hear appeals on the ban this October. In the meantime, a limited version will be in effect in as little as 72 hours.

Although President Trump is claiming it as a victory, this iteration is far more limited than the two previous versions. Restricting travel from six majority Muslim countries for 90 days and suspending the country’s refugee program for 120 days, the latest version only effects people without any connections to the US.”

Trump applauds Supreme Court, feels ‘gratified’ by ruling to revive travel ban

The Washington Times

“The Supreme Court revived President Trump’s extreme vetting travel ban Monday, ruling that much of it can go into effect — and along the way delivering an implicit rebuke to the army of lower-court judges who blasted the president as anti-Muslim.

In a unanimous unsigned ruling, the justices said the president has important national security powers that the courts must respect and ruled that he likely has the power to deny entry to broad categories of would-be visitors and immigrants.

But the justices said those who already have a connection to the U.S. — either a job offer, an admission to an educational program or a close family connection — will be exempted from the 90-day ban on travel from six countries as well as the 120-day pause on refugees.

Minutes after the ruling, both sides were fighting over what that meant.”

Supreme Court ruling on travel ban sparks fear, frustration — and joy — in Southern California

OC Register

“Muslim Americans in Southern California described the Supreme Court’s decision Monday to allow a temporary, partial version of the Trump administration’s travel ban as disappointing and “irrational,” but noted that until the issue gets a full hearing later this year it’s unclear how it will play out.

The ruling was also met with a chorus of bravos from Trump supporters who say it will make America safer, with additional vetting of who gets in and who doesn’t.

Both sides are gearing up for what’s next.”

SCOTUS splits the travel ban baby

Slate

“The Supreme Court’s ruling on Donald Trump’s travel ban is like an optical illusion: Your perception of it changes depending on your vantage point. To Trump and his allies, the decision looks like total vindication for the administration, a move that allows its long-delayed executive order to take effect. To left-leaning analysts, it’s a clever political compromise that still protects many of the refugees and foreign nationals who would’ve been excluded by the ban.

There’s a reason for these wildly differing takes: The decision itself is confusing and ambiguous. That’s because the court ruled only on the injunction and thus dodged the central issue: the legality of the order and the president’s authority to pass it. The court’s baby-splitting shields the president and his opponents from an outright loss or a clear-cut victory. But it doesn’t make much sense as a matter of law. It preserves the authority of the Supreme Court to say what the law is—even though, by its own terms, it fails to say what the law is.”

What is next for the Senate health care bill?

Published: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 @ 12:48 PM

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky walks onto the U.S. Senate floor Thursday following a meeting with Senate Republicans on their long-awaited health care plan. The Congressional Budget Office has now said that plan could lead to 22 million fewer insured Americans, which could include 680,000 Georgians. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Updated at 1:52 p.m. ET: From The Associated Press: “Lacking votes, Senate GOP leaders abruptly delay vote on health care bill until after July 4th recess.”

Original story: Early Tuesday, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) said he will oppose beginning debate on the Senate health care bill, voting no on a procedural vote that would put into motion the final vote for an overhaul of the country's health care system.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), and Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nevada) have said they, too, will likely oppose the procedural motion that allows debate on the bill to start. All four senators have said they would need to see alterations to the GOP version of the bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare before they would vote to move forward.

>> Read more trending news

On Monday, the Congressional Budget Office “scored” -- or estimated the cost -- of the bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) said he hoped to have a vote on the bill by Thursday before senators leave Washington D.C. for the Fourth of July holiday recess.

So what will happen next with the bill? Will we see a vote? Here’s a look at how the bill would become a law.

Since the CBO score is in, the Senate parliamentarian will meet with McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) to make sure that the bill as written is in line with the rules of reconciliation. Reconciliation allows legislation to pass the Senate with a simple majority vote of 51-49. Reconciliation does not allow for a filibuster, so a senator could not delay a vote on the bill indefinitely.

Once the bill is cleared for reconciliation, and if McConnell feels it can survive, he will take the bill to the Senate floor.

There, the bill faces a procedural step called a “Motion to Proceed” that allows the Senate to begin debate on the legislation. If the vote for that procedure – a simple majority vote – fails, then the bill does not go to the Senate floor for debate or for passage.

If it survives the Motion to Proceed, the bill heads to the floor.

Once the bill is introduced, a 20-hour window for debate begins. The debate time is divided between Democrats and Republicans. The debate process allows for speeches about the bill and amendments and motions to the legislation.

After the 20 hours of debate, there is a little more time for senators to offer amendments to the bill with no debate.

Eventually, someone will call for a “Motion to End Debate,” otherwise known as a “cloture” vote. The cloture vote ends all discussion on the bill and moves the legislation to one final vote on the Senate floor.

During that vote, McConnell can only afford to lose two GOP votes and still see the bill pass, since all of the Democratic senators have said they will vote no on the bill. He would do that with the help of Vice President Mike Pence, since the vice president has the power to break a tie vote in the Senate.