Still, momentum may be building.
Already, anyone 17 or older doesn't need to see a doctor before buying the morning-after pill - a higher-dose version of regular birth control that can prevent pregnancy if taken shortly after unprotected sex. Earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration held a meeting to gather ideas about how to sell regular oral contraceptives without a prescription, too.
Now the influential American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is declaring that it's safe to sell the pill that way.
Why would doctors who make money from women's yearly visits for a birth control prescription advocate giving that up?
Half of the nation's pregnancies every year are unintended, a rate that hasn't changed in 20 years - and easier access to birth control pills could help, said Kavita Nanda, an OB/GYN who co-authored the opinion.
"It's unfortunate that, in this country where we have all these contraceptive methods available, unintended pregnancy is still a major public health problem," said Nanda, a scientist at the North Carolina nonprofit FHI 360, formerly known as Family Health International.
Many women have trouble affording a doctor's visit, or getting an appointment in time when their pills are running low, Nanda added. If the pill didn't need a prescription, they could "pick it up in the middle of the night if they run out," she said. "It removes those types of barriers."
But it also raises a price question. The new health-care law requires approved contraceptives to be available without copays for women in most workplace health plans.
If the pill were sold without a prescription, it, like condoms, would not be covered under that provision.
In Tuesday's opinion, published in Obstetrics & Gynecology, the doctors group says any move toward making the pill nonprescription should address the cost issue.
The group did not tackle another question: whether teens should be treated differently than adults.