A huge step for women's rights was made on January 1, 2016 when Oregon became the first state allowing women to buy birth control over the counter, without a prescription.

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In most states, getting a prescription for birth control requires an appointment with a gynecologist, a physical exam, explaining your reasoning and then going to the pharmacy to fill the prescription. In Oregon, women who want birth control are now able to fill out a form, meet with the pharmacist for a few minutes to go over any questions or concerns, and then leave with their birth control. The pharmacists are required to explain that hormonal birth control does not protect against sexually transmitted infections so the customer is fully aware.

California is the next state that will make birth control pills available without a prescription — the change will take effect in March.

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While offering over the counter birth control pills and patches is controversial here in the U.S., it is a non-issue in many other countries. China, India, Greece, Turkey, Mexico, Brail, Portugal, South Africa, Korea and Russia are a few of the countries where women can get birth control pills without a prescription.

Data has found that wealthier countries such as the U.S., Canada and most of Europe, have the strictest birth control laws. Some women's rights advocates have criticized the fact that women must see a doctor to obtain hormonal birth control, saying it is a way for doctors and hospitals to profit from the appointments.

In 2014, the United Nations declared access to birth control a universal human right. With hormonal birth control being a 99 percent way to prevent pregnancy if used correctly, we will likely to see more developing nations make the pill readily accessible. 

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