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Whitmer Calls on President Biden to Make Birth Control Available Over the Counter


July 11, 2022



Gov. Whitmer Calls on President Biden to Make Birth Control Available Over the Counter

Letter follows repeated requests to the FDA by elected officials to improve access to birth control

Governor, dozens of leading medical organizations urge federal executive action to reduce barrier to contraception, ensure birth control is available without prescription

LANSING, Mich. — Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer called on President Biden to make birth control available over the counter without a prescription, knocking down a costly barrier to accessing essential medication. This follows a new application with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by HRA Pharma to make birth control available over the counter.

We all need to get creative and use every tool in our toolbox to protect reproductive freedom in Michigan and across the United States,” said Governor Whitmer.Today, I sent a letter to President Biden urging federal action to make birth control available over the counter, without a prescription. Getting this done would knock down the most costly, time-consuming barrier to obtaining birth control. In the wake of the overturn of Roe v Wade, we must pull out all the stops to make it easier and more affordable for everyone to secure contraception and take bold steps to protect women by ensuring that health—not politics—guides medical decisions. Let’s work together so women have control over their own bodies.”

The letter can be viewed here. 

Over the Counter Birth Control

For too many women, the need to get a prescription to obtain contraceptives creates another barrier to access. That barrier persists even though there is overwhelming evidence that birth control is safe and effective. Meanwhile, the continued prescription requirement endangers the reproductive freedom of millions of people, including 2.2 million Michigan women of reproductive age. 

Moving birth control to over the counter status would also mitigate inequities in our healthcare system. Black, Latino, and immigrant women disproportionately struggle to find providers and secure a prescription for contraceptives. Nearly three dozen medical associations, representing more than a quarter million providers across the nation, support FDA review of over the counter status to enhance access to contraception medication. 

Governor Whitmer’s Actions to Protect Reproductive Freedom

  • April 7: Filed a lawsuit to ask the Michigan Supreme Court to immediately resolve whether Michigan’s constitution protects the right to an abortion. This legal action against the 1931 law represents the first time a governor has filed a lawsuit to protect the right to an abortion since the release of the leaked draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson.
  • April 7: Penned an op-ed in the Detroit Free Press explaining her action and highlighting that 7 in 10 Michiganders support the rights affirmed by Roe.
  • May 3: Joined 16 other states to urge the United States Senate to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act and enshrine Roe’s protections in federal law.
  • May 9: Penned an op-ed in the New York Times explaining why she isn’t waiting for Congress to act and urging fellow pro-choice governors, state representatives, private businesses, and citizens to take action to protect reproductive rights.
  • May 25: Signed an executive directive instructing state of Michigan departments and agencies to identify and assess opportunities to increase protections for reproductive healthcare, such as contraception. The executive directive also instructs departments not to cooperate with or assist authorities of any state in any investigation or proceeding against anyone for obtaining, providing, or assisting someone else to obtain or provide reproductive healthcare that is legal where the health care is provided.
  • June 23: Launched a new consumer website to educate Michiganders about the availability of no-cost contraception with most insurance plans.
  • June 24: On the day of the Dobbs decision, filed a motion urging the Court to immediately consider her lawsuit.
  • June 27: Followed up with an additional notice to the Court urging them to immediately consider her lawsuit.
  • June 29: Sent a letter to Michigan’s insurers urging them to take steps to ensure Michiganders have coverage for reproductive health care to the fullest extent possible under current coverage.
  • July 6: Joined with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to launch a public effort to educate Michiganders and health care providers about the difference between emergency contraception and medication abortion. The public effort will disseminate information about the differences between medication abortion and emergency contraception to all local health departments throughout Michigan, healthcare providers throughout the state, and the public.
  • July 7: Called on the federal government to clarify and protect Michiganders’ right to cross the US-Canada border to seek reproductive health care or prescription medication including medication abortion.