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Statement of U.S. Bishops’ Family Life Committee chairman on FDA approval of over-the-counter oral contraceptive


WASHINGTON — In reaction to the news that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the oral contraceptive, Opill, to be dispensed over the counter, Bishop Robert E. Barron of Winona-Rochester, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth, commented:

“This action by a government entity flies in the face of responsible medical practice and concerns for women’s health. Claims that the benefits of this action outweigh the risks are unfounded, especially in light of strong evidence of the many harmful risks of hormonal contraception to women’s health.

“Allowing this hormonal contraception to be dispensed ‘over the counter’ – without the supervision of a doctor and contrary to the mounting evidence of many harmful side effects – violates the Hippocratic Oath by putting the health of women at grave risk.”

On July 13, Paris-based pharmaceutical company, HRA Pharma, received approval from the FDA for a birth control pill that includes progestin only, not estrogen, and is known as a mini pill. It would be the first oral contraceptive available in the U.S. without a prescription. 


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