At age 22, I was diagnosed with endometriosis. If I were no longer able to obtain birth control, I don’t know what I would do to control my symptoms.
I was 18 when I found out. I consistently used condoms with my boyfriend at the time, and less than a year out of high school, I was panicked.
Emergencies happen – even when it comes to your birth control. That’s why emergency contraception (EC) is so important. You may also know it as the "morning-after" pill. EC is birth control for emergencies, and it works after sex. Several brands of EC are available: Plan B®, Plan B One-Step™, Next Choice®, and ella®.
- If you already are pregnant, taking EC will not affect the pregnancy.
- EC works best the sooner you take it after sex. But you can take it up to five days after sex.
- You can get most kinds of EC without a prescription if you are 17 or older. Ella® is available only by prescription.
- Plan B®, Plan B One-Step™, and Next Choice® contain a higher dose of nearly the same medication as your daily birth-control pills.
EC has such great potential, but it’s not used as much as it should be. Many women don’t know about EC. On top of that, our anti-choice opponents do whatever they can to make it harder for women to access it.
- If someone you know was a rape survivor, wouldn’t you want her to get information about how to prevent a pregnancy? Many hospital emergency rooms do not offer EC to rape survivors. Even worse, not all rape survivors receive even information about EC in the emergency room.
- Pharmacies in many states are allowed to refuse to sell EC to women. Imagine if your town only has one pharmacy, and it won’t sell EC.
- Anti-choice activists lie about how EC works and say that it causes abortion. EC does not cause abortion. However, a lot of women, and even doctors and nurses, are still confused about the difference between EC and the abortion pill, RU 486 .
There are many ways to make sure that women know about EC and have access to it in a hurry.
- Hospitals should offer EC to rape survivors.
- Doctors should talk with women about EC at their yearly check-up.
- The good news is that people 17 and older can now buy most types of EC over the counter at the pharmacy. That means women don’t have to see a doctor and get a prescription first, and men can buy it for a wife or girlfriend. The next step would be to allow pharmacists to provide EC over the counter to women younger than 17 when appropriate.
- More states should make it easier for low-income women to access EC at an affordable price in the same way they do other medications.
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