Study: Doctors Shouldn’t Be Making Women Get Pelvic Exams To Get An Rx

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Did you know that pelvic exams are not required before acquiring birth control from an OBGYN? Probably not, considering that 44% of health care workers usually make women get a pelvic exam before they'll write a birth control prescription. But the two things are mutually exclusive, and according to the World Health Organization, the number of doctors who confuse the two is “disappointingly high.”

Here at Crushable, this topic has divided the office a bit. Most of us didn't know you could even get birth control pills without submitting to a pelvic exam. What do you think?

According to this new study by the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, the two have nothing to do with each other, and “the key problem with mandatory pelvic exams is that it puts up an unnecessary hurdle to women seeking effective birth control.”

In a survey of 1,200 U.S. doctors and nurses, the study found that one-third said they always required women to get a pelvic exam before prescribing birth control. 44% usually require one. Of course, doctors often perform Pap tests and other important screenings while doing a pelvic exam. But the point here seems to be that mandatory pelvic exams put a barrier between women and their birth control preferences.

Other than tradition, there's one reason that pelvic exams have become so intrinsically linked to getting birth control prescriptions: insurance payments. Health insurance pay doctors upwards of $75 to give a pelvic exam. Writing a scrip, on the other hand, does not always lead to a reimbursement.

OBGYN Dr. Andrew M. Kaunitz tells MSNBC:

“The two just became linked.” But while there is nothing wrong with that, he said, “women also deserve the option of un-linking those two services.”

The main issue seems to be that pelvic exams are being used as a hurdle to acquiring birth control. But is there a downside otherwise?

Here at Crushable, we're a bit torn. Some of us think that you should be able to get birth control whenever you want it. Others think mandatory STD and pelvic checks every few months are just good protocol. What do you think?