The Online Edition of the Annandale High School Newspaper.

The A-Blast

The Online Edition of the Annandale High School Newspaper.

The A-Blast

The Online Edition of the Annandale High School Newspaper.

The A-Blast

Opill, the 98% effective first form of over-the-counter birth control

Amidst another Supreme Court battle endangering the future of reproductive health care, Opill is now available without a prescription or insurance coverage

“As a young woman who comes from a family that won’t allow me access to contraception, like birth control, Opill allows me to protect my reproductive health discreetly, in a time where my reproductive rights are being put up for grabs by the government and Supreme Court daily,” senior Emma Nicole said, whose name has been changed for the sake of privacy.

Opill is the very first of its kind as an over-the-counter form of once-daily oral form of birth control. The over-the-counter access to the pill is greatly supported by women’s rights organizations by its ability to provide access to birth control without the need for a prescription from a medical professional or insurance coverage.

The FDA approved Opill in July of 2023, and in the previous month began its rollout in drug stores, convenience stores, and online.

A one-month supply of Opill, orived 98% effective, is priced affordably at $19.99 and offers discounts for three-month and six-month supplies.

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“I definitely think [Opill] could be helpful because there are a lot of people who don’t have access to that and it’s hard for them to get it,” junior Brighid Doherty said.

The CDC reports that 6.1 million pregnancies in the United States are unintentional which can be greatly impacted by large-scale accessibility to over-the-counter birth control, like Opill.

The CDC additionally reports that the current teenage birth rate in the United States is at an all-time low of only 13.5 births per 1,000 teens between the ages of 15-19.

Opill allows for the widespread expansion of access to oral contraception especially in younger women for its ability to provide safe access to affordable and discrete access to birth control that can be shipped right to their homes or found at a local grocery or convenience store.

“I think [Opill] is a really good thing since birth control is so hard to get, it gives opportunities for women to have easier access to birth control,” junior Esperanza Christian said.

Opill is a progestin-only pill and has been proven to be safe by many of its users, allowing for access to the pill without a doctor’s prescription. Opill’s singular use of the hormone progestin proves safe even when taken by patients who suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, or cardiovascular disease.

Opill, as opposed to other commonly found orally ingested forms of birth control that use the combination of both hormones of estrogen and progesterone. While safe for many, those forms of birth control could impose issues for those with certain medical conditions due to its combinational use of hormones and should only be taken when prescribed by a medical professional.

Opill is considered safe for many of its users, only encompassing minimal side effects of irregular spotting, dizziness, headaches, abdominal pain and cramps according to the CDC. Many of these are commonly seen across other methods of birth control.

“I think as a teacher, it is great because it’s an uncomfortable situation for young women to have necessarily to go to someone older that might be able to walk them through those options,” English 10 teacher Kathleen Mathis said. “But as a mom, it’s good to know about so that I can have conversations with my daughters when they’re older about what’s available and what the consequences of using such products or not using such products will be.”

It’s important to note the pill should not be used as a form of emergency contraception or STD protection and it’s important to use other forms of contraception and to be tested regularly if sexually active.

Just as Opill has begun to hit shelves, another case regarding the future impact of reproductive access for women hits the Supreme Court

In late March, a mere 20 months after the Supreme Court decided to repeal the Roe V. Wade (1973) ruling that resulted in leaving abortion laws up to the states, the Supreme Court is pending another decision that could limit the access to mifepristone, a medication commonly used in over two-thirds of all abortions in the United States.

Mifepristone has been proven both safe and effective at ending early-stage pregnancies and has been used by over six million Americans since its FDA approval in the year 2000.

The Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, an anti-abortion organization, sued the Food and Drug Administration for both the FDA approval of mifepristone in 2000 and the increased accessibility of the drug in 2016 and 2021.

The case is currently being determined by the same Supreme Court justices who overturned Roe v. Wade and sparks vast importance for the future of access to reproductive healthcare by its potential outcome to limit the authority of the FDA.

The outcome of the case is set to be known by the summer, and millions of Americans follow closely in the ongoing fight for reproductive rights in the United States. Amidst a wave of setbacks in access to reproductive healthcare for women, Opill grants a new opportunity for more affordable and accessible access to birth control.

“With the future of my reproductive health remaining greatly unknown and a battle my generation and women everywhere are fighting every day, Opill provides an amazing opportunity for women to protect their right to their own bodies,” Nicole said.

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About the Contributor
Emily Hawkins
Emily Hawkins, Co-Editor in Chief
Senior Emily Hawkins is thrilled to be this year's Co-Editor in Chief of The A-Blast. This is her third year in the program and was previous In-Depth Editor and Arts Editor. When she’s not at school she enjoys listening to music, reading, crocheting or hanging out with friends. She hopes to pursue further education in university and to study communications and journalism. She is looking forward to a great last year on staff!

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