In the middle of the ongoing war over women’s reproductive systems, there is now a little bit of light in the darkness. The FDA has officially approved the first over-the-counter birth control.

The OTC Birth Control

The newly approved pill is called the Opill. The Food and Drug Administration’s approval makes this the first hormonal contraceptive pill available in the U.S. without a prescription. Medical groups like the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have been pushing for years for an over-the-counter birth control pill. This is a win not only for women but for their allies, supporters say.

“This is a monumental decision,” Dr. Melissa Simon, a professor of clinical gynecology at Northwestern University, said in a release. “OTC birth control is available in over 100 countries, so we’ve been behind in availing safe, effective methods such as this oral contraceptive pill to individuals who are trying to avoid pregnancy.”

Although the approval of this birth control is new, the pill itself is not. The Opill was first approved by the FDA as a prescription in 1973. It contains one hormone, progestin, and is taken daily. According to the FDA, the pill is expected to be available at drug stores, convenience stores, grocery stores, and online. However, the maker of the Opill, Perrigo’s HRA Pharma, said it doesn’t expect it will be available until “early 2024.”

This move is one of the first steps for Black people to have more access to reproductive care. In a conversation with The Root about access to birth control, experts say, historically, it has been challenging.

“Despite the popularity and the decades of safe use and research contraception, many people still face barriers to birth control,” says Sarah Baum, a senior research scientist at Ibis Reproductive Health. “And we know that these barriers fall the hardest on young people and Black, indigenous, and people of color.”

With this new OTC pill, access becomes easier due to cutting out the middleman of doctors and health care centers, which have gotten a bad rap for putting Black women’s health at risk due to racial stereotypes.