The Food and Drug Administration finally approved the first over-the-counter birth control pill in the United States. This is undoubtedly a significant step toward reproductive autonomy for women nationwide.

The drug trade-named Opill is a more effective birth control method for preventing pregnancy than other over-the-counter methods.

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According to its manufacturer, Opill will likely hit stores and online retailers in the United States in early 2024.

Similarly, Frédérique Welgryn, Perrigo’s global vice president for women’s health, said in a statement that the company was committed to making the pill “accessible and affordable to women and people of all ages.”

This over-the-counter birth control pill could radically change the lives of Latinas and other women of color

For women of color, access to reproductive health care is uphill. And since the Supreme Court struck down the nation’s right to abortion last year, the situation has been increasingly tortuous.

Currently, 14 states already have near-total bans on abortion at any time during pregnancy. Latinas are the largest group of women of color currently living in those states.

As many as 6.5 million Latinas live in 26 states that have banned or intend to ban or severely limit access to abortion, according to the National Partnership for Women & Families and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice.

This situation has changed the way Latinas think about contraception

According to a survey conducted earlier this year by Chispa, a dating app for Latinos in the U.S., nearly one-third (29%) of young Latinas said they were having less casual sex because of the Supreme Court decision. Also, 23% said they had changed their contraceptive plan due to the decision.

Furthermore, 21% said they had stopped dating after learning of the Court’s decision. 17% said they had stopped having sex with their partner.

Among college-educated Latinas who completed the survey, two-thirds said they are concerned about not having access to reproductive services in the future.

Enter Opill

For Latinas in the United States, living a full and autonomous sex life is a utopia. Despite contraceptive methods being available, access to healthcare poses an obstacle course.

However, the F.D.A.’s new decision to approve an over-the-counter birth control pill overturns many.

“Today’s approval marks the first time a nonprescription daily oral contraceptive will be an available option for millions of people in the United States,” Dr. Patrizia Cavazzoni, director of the F.D.A.’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a statement. “When used as directed, daily oral contraception is safe and is expected to be more effective than currently available nonprescription contraceptive methods in preventing unintended pregnancy.”

This guarantee provides a safety cushion for millions of Latinas

In a survey conducted last year by the health research organization KFF, more than three-quarters of women of reproductive age said they favored an over-the-counter pill, the New York Times reported.

According to the survey, those most likely to opt for the product were women already taking birth control pills, uninsured women, and Latinas.

“This is really a transformation in access to contraceptive care,” said Kelly Blanchard, president of Ibis Reproductive Health, a nonprofit group that supported the approval, to abc7. “Hopefully, this will help people overcome those barriers that exist now.”