A new state just joined the most fascinating birth control experiment in America.

People seeking out oral birth control in Colorado will now be able purchase the medication at a pharmacy without making a doctor's appointment first.

Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images.

The law that loosens the restriction was passed in 2016 and went into effect in August — making the Centennial State the third to streamline the process of acquiring birth control pills, along with California and Oregon.


The medication still has to be prescribed — but that can be done by a pharmacist. The process involves a consultation, a questionnaire, and a blood pressure check, according to the Associated Press.

Permitting pharmacies to sell oral birth control over the counter has become a bipartisan cause in recent years — though the parties disagree on how to make it work.

Many drug companies are wary to undergo the FDA's approval process, which can be "lengthy and expensive" and includes the risk of incurring a political backlash, according to a 2015 Guttmacher Institute report.

FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb testifies in front of the House Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies Subcommittee. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

Guttmacher, a reproductive health policy advocacy group, praised California and Oregon's partial approach, while noting that it's "unclear how pharmacists will be able to bill insurance companies for the costs of associated counseling and screening services."

Also in 2015, Senators Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) and Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire) proposed a measure that would reward drug companies that filed applications to sell their oral contraceptives over the counter.  

The plan, while supported by a half-dozen other GOP senators, was opposed by both the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and Planned Parenthood on the grounds that such a measure would force potential patients to "pay twice for their birth control," if insurers no longer covered the medication as a result.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

A separate plan, proposed by Democratic Senator Patty Murray in 2015, would have required insurers to cover oral contraceptives purchased over the counter.

Neither Gardner and Ayotte's bill nor Murray's bill passed.

This isn't the first time Colorado has experimented with reforming the birth control delivery process.

In 2009, the state began offering free long-acting intra-uterine devices (IUDs) to residents. Teen pregnancies fell by over 40% over the same period.

For now, those who advocate lowering barriers to access have a new laboratory where they can study the potential benefits.

"People could be coming in to buy shampoo or vitamins, and they can have that conversation with a pharmacist," pharmacist Kelsey Schwander told the Denver Post earlier this year in the run-up to the measure's implementation.

For Coloradans who fear the expense of a doctor's visit, it could be a conversation worth having.  

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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

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Some of those differences are being discussed in a viral thread on Twitter. Self-described "West coaster" Jordan Green kicked it off with an observation about East coasters being kind and West coasters being nice, which then prompted people to share their own social experiences in various regions around the country.

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I'm a West Coaster through and through—born and raised in San Francisco, moved to Portland for college, and now live in Seattle. We're nice, but we're not kind. We'll listen to your rant politely, smile, and then never speak to you again. We hit mute in real life. ALOT.

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Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

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Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.