Sunday, March 18, 2012

My mother is awesome!

I just have to say that.

Okay, there's a reason why I'm saying that.

I got into a debate today regarding why I believe that contraceptives should be sold over the counter. This includes the emergency pill, and this includes no age restrictions (i.e. no stupid laws that say that if a girl is younger than 18, she has to go through a physician to get the "day-after" pill because of some legislature's desire to dictate morality from the state house).

Simply put, I could not convince the other parties that they were suffering from status quo and authority bias. Because contraceptives have been sold on a prescription basis throughout their whole lives (status quo) and they were brought up to respect medical authority, if doctors are prescribing contraceptives today despite their long history, that must mean that contraceptives are dangerous to have without a prescription from a doctor based on your medical history.

Except, no.

If we are to appeal to authority bias, then one authority I like to appeal to is my mother, as she's an OB-GYN. If any doctor would have an opinion that could be trusted regarding contraceptives, it would be an OB-GYN. So, when I discussed my thoughts with her later in the day, she completely backed me up, even for cases where contraceptives are prescribed for non-contraceptive use (i.e. to help with bleeding).

I was at least willing to consider that there would be a simple diagnostic checklist that could be created to say what dosage a person should have based on medical history or a few simple questions, but apparently there's no need. For the cases where it is for non-contraceptive use, the simple dosage discovery is to start with the lowest, and test upwards if necessary; and switch if that still doesn't work. That honestly sounds simple, doesn't it?

In other words, there is no need for access to be controlled by the prescription script. Continuing to keep this barrier is an illogicality that invites patients to fall through the cracks because a doctor or employer has a morality that does not want to allow the prescription to be written (i.e. Catholic employers). Removing this barrier would give more control back to the patient, where the choice should be in the first place.

N.B. Obviously this is my opinion, and not medical advice. This is not a medical blog, and even if it was, the advice would be general enough to provide some information, but require confirmation with a doctor or pharmacist. Maybe if I interviewed 100 doctors I would get a wider spectrum of answers that could be researched. I am just putting this out there because sometimes assumptions about the status quo need to be challenged. 

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