Birth Control, Abortion, and Broadway | Daily Skimm

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The OTC

The Story

The US could be getting its first over-the-counter birth control pill option.

No prescription needed?

Nope. Yesterday, French-based HRA Pharma said it submitted its application to the FDA for its oral contraceptive pill, Opill. The US is one of the few countries that doesn’t offer OTC birth control pills. Even though the American Medical Association has endorsed birth control pills as safe and effective to use without a prescription. But most pharma companies have long dismissed the process as not worth the money and hassle. Enter: the French.

Merci.

Yes, well. This pill is already in use with prescriptions, reportedly making up a fraction (less than 10%) of the US market. It needs to be taken at the same time every day. And can cause unexpected bleeding. It’s already spent years in trials per FDA requirements. Next up: it could take 10 months at the earliest for the FDA to clear it.

As in…longer than it takes to make a baby?

Correct. Earlier this year, House Democrats signed a letter asking the agency to speed things the F-DA up. But the Biden admin reportedly says the FDA, like anyone after eating Chipotle, “has to go through their process.” All of this is happening as abortion is now banned or restricted in more than a dozen states. And as birth control itself is hard to come by. One study found that nearly 30% of women who tried to get birth control faced barriers like lack of health insurance or not having a doctor.

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Since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, advocates are racing to find a way to protect other reproductive rights that could be in jeopardy — like contraception. And this is just one way to make access easier for Americans.

PS: Birth control pills don’t work the same as abortion pills or Plan B. We’ve got you.

And Also…This

What’s saying ‘read the fine print’…

The Biden admin. Yesterday, the Department of Health and Human Services reminded doctors that federal law allows them to perform abortions in medical emergencies. And that a 1986 law — which ensures people have access to emergency services — takes precedence over any state law that bans abortion. Health policy officials say medical conditions like complications from miscarriage and ectopic pregnancies could fall under that emergency category — and that it’s up to the doctor to decide. HHS Sec Xavier Becerra doubled down saying the dept expects “providers to continue offering these services.” And threatened to take away Medicare funding from hospitals that violate the law. Emergency physicians welcomed the move. But said there was still a lot of “uncertainty” surrounding emergency doctors risking punishment for providing abortion services.

Where it’s gonna be another scorcher today… 

Texas. ERCOT — the state org that operates Texas’s electric grid — is asking residents to conserve electricity, especially during peak hours. The temps this week have reportedly reached the second-hottest day since at least 1950. It’s all bringing back nightmares from last February, when the power grid failed during a major winter storm, leaving millions without power for days. Now, some Texans are worried about another blackout. Meanwhile, the state’s Bitcoin miners are shutting off their machines. Reminder: even on milder days, crypto isn’t good for the environment.

What’s looking ripped this summer…

The US dollar. Yesterday, for the first time in 20 years, the euro and the US dollar were just one cent away from being equal. That’s because the invasion of Ukraine has caused an energy crisis and high inflation in the EU. For Americans, it’s just the latest sign that the time to leave the US for Europe is…now. As long as you’re ok with dealing with inflated ticket prices. But at least it’s cheaper than ever to buy crêpes and channel your inner “Emily in Paris.” Or ask someone to take videos of you while promenading on a remote Greek island. (Just us on #GreeceTok then? Ok.) But the exchange rate could spell bad news for the EU’s economic growth and could send investors who are looking for a safe haven to the US.

PS: In case you don’t want to take a trip to Lisbon to take advantage of a strong US dollar, we’ve got you covered.

What people are buzzing about…

Mosquitoes. A new study found that the insect can sniff out the viruses that cause Zika and dengue fever in people. Apparently, mosquitoes are into that smell, which we are not here to judge. Since mosquitoes are more likely to bite those infected, it makes it easier for those viruses to spread to others in a never-ending cycle of infection. Not good. But there’s hopeful news: scientists also found that using Accutane repelled the mosquitoes. Rude, but it means that infected people can fight acne and slow the spread of disease all at once.

What we’re tuning into…

One of the last Jan 6 hearings. Here’s what you missed.

What has us saying ‘Cetus-Lupeedus’…

The universe.

What Broadway is known for…

Drama. Welcome, Lea Michele.

Who’s dropping the ‘fantasy’ in fantasy football…

Condoleezza Rice.

Skimm’d by Rashaan Ayesh, Melanie De Lima, Kate Gilhool, Julie Shain, and Mariza Smajlaj

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