A doctor had Stephanie Mencimer "over a barrel," she writes in Mother Jones: "Come in for a pelvic exam, or I won't refill your birth control pills." Mencimer not only refused to take another Pap smear—and risk "the ensuing misery" of a false positive—science happened to agree with her. A group of US experts have released new guidelines saying most women don't need Pap smears more than once every three years. "Doctors, though, don't seem to be in any hurry to give up old habits."
It's hardly surprising, considering that "most continuing medical education is funded by drug and medical device companies." And the obvious solution—selling the pill over the counter—would rob obstetricians and gynecologists of annual checkups. Yet evidence shows no medical link between the pelvic exam/Pap smear and use of the pill. Mencimer's solution: Go to Planned Parenthood, where she could get the pill after only a short checkup. "It was worth it, mainly because I got my prescription without having to take my clothes off." Click for the full article. (Read more birth control pill stories.)