New York, N.Y. — Eight out of 10 women in America say that insurance companies should be required to cover birth control pills and other forms of contraception at low or no cost, just as they must for other medications used for prevention, according to a new poll released May 6. This finding comes almost 50 years to the day after a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Advisory Committee voted to approve the use of the first birth control pill on May 9, 1960. The pill was formally approved as an oral contraceptive by the FDA on June 23, 1960.
Since the FDA’s approval of the pill, the number of women who die as a result of pregnancy each year has dropped by half. During that same period, there was a threefold decline in infant deaths. The number of unplanned pregnancies has also declined. And as access to contraception has increased, the rate of abortion has decreased.
“The availability of the pill has literally reshaped the lives of women, men and families across the country and around the globe,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). “This highly effective oral contraceptive enables women to plan their own futures in ways they never could before by deciding the timing and spacing of their children, as well as by being able to decide to pursue more education and employment before they start their families. This is one pill that literally changed the world and the way we live.”