Yesterday, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order denying the federal government’s request to stay a U.S. District Court judge’s decision to make emergency contraception(EC) available over the counter, without age restrictions.
What this means for you and me — our sisters, daughters, friends, etc… — is that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has to comply with a previous court order and allow emergency contraception such as Plan B to be sold on store shelves, just like aspirin and other over-the-counter medications.
Why is this such good news?
For one thing, scientific evidence is finally taking a front seat to politically-motivated attempts to prevent women and girls from getting the health care we want and deserve.
Consider the following:
- Scientists have concluded that EC is safer than pregnancy.
- Several studies have found no deaths or serious complications linked to EC.
- Medical groups such as the American Medical Association, the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Society for Adolescent Medicine all support making EC available over the counter with no restrictions.
- EC is sold over the counter in six countries and can be obtained from a pharmacist, without a prescription, in 54 countries.
Half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended, so for many women and girls, EC offers a chance to prevent pregnancy after birth control failure or unprotected sex.
What does this mean for Maine women and girls?
We now have a really good — available to everyone with no restrictions — back-up plan for those times when a birth control method fails or we didn’t use protection.
In fact, since EC will be available over the counter, it’s a really good idea to buy a dose to have on hand… just in case. And packing EC in your bags as you go off to college or travel is a pretty good plan as well.
Since it’s likely that EC will be expensive at your local pharmacy, I’d like to remind everyone that EC is available at all Maine family planning health centers. Since we offer reduced prices based on household income, EC from your local family planning provider is always affordable.
~ Shannon Mackey, Director of Clinical Services