Interest in Using Over-the-Counter Oral Contraceptive Pills

Interest in Using Over-the-Counter Oral Contraceptive Pills: Findings from the 2022 KFF Women’s Health Survey

Survey Fielded by SSRS

Oral contraceptives are the most commonly used method of reversible contraception in the U.S., and studies suggest that OTC access would increase use of contraception and facilitate continuity of use in addition to saving time spent on travel, at a doctor’s office, and off work. The American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists support efforts to make an oral contraceptive pill available OTC, without age restrictions.

This brief presents data from the 2022 KFF Women’s Health Survey (WHS) about reproductive age (18-49) females’ preferences for an OTC contraceptive pill (N = 4,088). The KFF WHS is a nationally representative survey that includes 5,201 females1, conducted primarily online from May 10, 2022, to June 7, 2022. The survey covers several topics related to reproductive health and well-being. See the Methodology section for details.

Findings

More than three-quarters (77%) of reproductive age females favor making birth control pills available over the counter without a prescription if research showed they are safe and effective (Figure 1). Fifty-six percent strongly favor this policy and 21% somewhat favor it, even if they would not use this option themselves. Twelve percent of females either somewhat or strongly oppose this policy and 11% did not know whether they favor or oppose it.