close up photography of pills
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The US drug regulator approved the first over-the-counter birth control pill in the country, it announced Thursday, dramatically widening access to contraception for women as the United States grapples with reproductive rights.

The medication, Opill, will become available in pharmacies and supermarkets as well as online early next year, the manufacturer Perrigo said in a statement.

Many countries already allow contraceptive pills to be sold over the counter. But in the United States the measure comes as the right to abortion is being restricted and is now banned in several states.

"Today's approval marks the first time a nonprescription daily oral contraceptive will be an available option for millions of people in the United States," said Patrizia Cavazzoni, director of the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research in a statement.

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