Different birth control apps have afforded alternative ways for women to access birth control – at a time when women’s reproductive rights are being threatened.
Not everyone these days is trying to get pregnant. For those looking to get a birth control prescription, a growing assortment of birth control apps and platforms enable women to obtain prescription contraceptives without going to the doctor. As The New York Times reported in 2016, more women are starting to take advantage of these websites and apps which deliver contraception directly to their door.
These birth control apps can serve as a critical resource for women who work long hours or live in rural areas, who lack access to reliable transportation, or for whom mobility is difficult.
While these innovative methods of ordering birth control may seem weird or unfamiliar to some, each app or online platform follows telemedicine regulations and laws outlined by the state(s) where they operate. In other words, the services are regulated and comply with accepted medical protocol.
To be sure, these online services are not meant as a substitute for annual, in-person checkups and preventative medical care, but instead aim to streamline and simplify a process which traditionally requires a woman to schedule an appointment with a doctor (which can take weeks), sit in the waiting room for half an hour or more, undergo an exam she didn’t necessarily need, and to shell out a sizeable copay before repeating the process again, every six months.
Protecting and ensuring women’s ability to access birth control has never been more important. By leveraging digital technology, these three birth control apps help women obtain and fill prescriptions for hormonal birth control in an efficient, frictionless manner.
Nurx is fairly straightforward: after registering for a free account online, users fill out a basic medical history, exchange a few instant messages with a licensed doctor, and receive a package in the mail containing their order. There are no consultation or delivery fees; women who don’t have health insurance pay only for the cost of the medication itself.
Methods available: Nurx offers around 40 different brands of birth control pills, in addition to the patch, vaginal contraceptive ring, and emergency contraception. If you’ve never used birth control before (or if you want to try a new method), the app has a feature which allows users to consult with a medical professional for help selecting a method and brand.
Cost: $0 w/ insurance; $15 w/o insurance
Accepts Insurance? Yes
Ships to: CA, NY, DC, PA, IL, WA, FL, MI, NJ, MN, MO, VA
Lemonaid aims to simplify and lower the costs associated with birth control. Its service costs $15 per “visit” and offers wallet-friendly birth control options–some as low as $9–for women without health insurance coverage.
Methods available: Lemonaid offers prescriptions for over 100 brands of birth control pills.
Cost: $15 per visit (a doctor reviews your options online or through video chat) + Rx cost
Accepts Insurance? Yes
Delivery: N/A (Lemonaid sends prescription to a local pharmacy)
Ships to: AZ, CA, CT, FL, GA, IL, MI, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, VA, WA
PRJKT RUBY uses a convenient online platform to provide women in the U.S. with streamlined access to low-cost birth control pills. For each pack of pills ordered, PRJKT RUBY donates 25 cents to support reproductive education and services for women in the developing world.
Methods available: PRJKT RUBY offers a few generic brands of the pill, plus Ella emergency contraception.
Cost: $20 for a three-month supply of contraceptive pills; $60 for emergency contraception
Accepts Insurance? No
Ships to: Five U.S. states prohibit online prescribing, so PRJKT RUBY is not available in Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, or Iowa.
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