Why Is Emergency Contraception Still So Hard To Find?

It’s been nearly nine years since the FDA approved the usage of Plan B One Step (levonorgestrel), an emergency contraceptive pill, for all girls of child-bearing potential to buy over the counter. The FDA made this choice primarily based on the proof that Plan B is safe to use without the supervision of a licensed practitioner. Nonetheless, Plan B’s path to over-the-counter approval came with controversy and confusion over how emergency contraception works. The misconceptions about emergency contraception and stigma round reproductive health have led to boundaries to access that stubbornly persist at the moment, in each physical and invisible ways.

Before we get into the limitations women face in accessing emergency contraception, we need to be clear: emergency contraceptives are usually not abortifacients. Plan B, My Way and ella (and different emergency contraceptive pills or procedures) only work earlier than being pregnant occurs. These drugs don't have an effect on a creating embryo and don't terminate a being pregnant, even when taken while pregnant.

Obstacles in Pharmacies
Pharmacies normally stock over-the-counter emergency contraception in household planning aisles. Unfortunately, some pharmacies place emergency contraception behind a locked, plastic (literal) barrier that requires a patient to ask for assistance. These barriers are meant to prevent shoplifting however often deter girls who need privacy. Other pharmacies could keep emergency contraception behind the counter, asking for payment from a patient before dispensing the medication. These additional steps in obtaining an over-the-counter treatment make a tense time unnecessarily awkward, too.

For ladies who only have independently-owned pharmacies close to them, boundaries are even higher. These pharmacies tend to have limited hours, making access difficult for many who don’t have flexible work schedules. Smaller pharmacies also are likely to have fewer self-checkout options or none at all. Inadequate privacy in a pharmacy impacts the accessibility of emergency contraceptives and different forms of family planning.

The Invisible Social Limitations
The misunderstanding that emergency contraceptives terminate a being pregnant is still pervasive, adding to the discomfort and need for a discreet way to access them. When it involves picking up a prescription emergency contraceptive (ella®, which is ulipristal acetate, is prescription only), some girls might feel uncomfortable with the pharmacist dispensing their medication. Even dealing with a cashier when purchasing Plan B over the counter might be an anxious experience for some women.

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