It’s been nearly 9 years because the FDA approved the usage of Plan B One Step (levonorgestrel), an emergency contraceptive pill, for all women of child-bearing potential to buy over the counter. The FDA made this determination based on the proof that Plan B is safe to make use of 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 around reproductive health have led to boundaries to access that stubbornly persist as we speak, in each physical and invisible ways.
Earlier than we get into the boundaries ladies face in accessing emergency contraception, we wish to be clear: emergency contraceptives aren’t abortifacients. Plan B, My Way and ella (and different emergency contraceptive pills or procedures) only work earlier than pregnancy occurs. These drugs do not affect a growing embryo and don’t terminate a being pregnant, even when taken while pregnant.
Obstacles in Pharmacies
Pharmacies usually 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 affected person to ask for assistance. These boundaries are supposed to forestall shoplifting but usually deter women who want privacy. Different pharmacies might keep emergency contraception behind the counter, asking for payment from a affected person earlier than dispensing the medication. These additional steps in obtaining an over-the-counter medication make a irritating time unnecessarily awkward, too.
For girls who only have independently-owned pharmacies near them, obstacles are even higher. These pharmacies are inclined to have limited hours, making access tough for individuals who don’t have flexible work schedules. Smaller pharmacies also are inclined to have fewer self-checkout options or none at all. Inadequate privateness in a pharmacy impacts the accessibility of emergency contraceptives and different forms of household planning.
The Invisible Social Limitations
The misunderstanding that emergency contraceptives terminate a pregnancy is still pervasive, adding to the discomfort and wish for a discreet way to access them. When it comes to picking up a prescription emergency contraceptive (ella®, which is ulipristal acetate, is prescription only), some women could 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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