The contraceptive pill was one of the most significant medical advances of the last century. It transformed the lives of women around the world.
That progestogen-only pills will be available to purchase over the counter from UK pharmacies without prescription is a further historic step forward for women’s reproductive health. It has been a long time coming.
It is right that pharmacists will remain on hand to advise and help women make informed choices. But this change will give women and girls more control over their bodies as well as reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies.
Inequities endure, of course. There is still too great an onus on women to prevent uplanned pregnancy, whereas there must be an equal responsibility placed on men. But this is progress.
When the pill was first made available on the NHS in 1961, it was for married women only. This persisted until 1967, but is further evidence that women’s control over their reproductive health has always had to be fought for.
This latest step is a crucial one on the path to equality.
And so the gold rush begins.
Congratulations to swimmer Adam Peaty, mountain biker Tom Pidcock and divers Tom Daley and Matty Lee. Staying fit during the dark days of Covid and performing to miraculous heights in the absence of fans, these athletes have displayed not only their talent but extraordinary perseverance.
It is why we love the Olympics.