Ladies, rejoice! For once, politicians are actually expanding access to contraceptives — sort of! Following a recent court decision – Tummino v. Hamberg – mandating that the Food and Drug Administration expand access to the morning-after pill, the government agency did just that. Yesterday, the FDA announced two major changes to purchasing the emergency contraceptive:
- It has lowered the purchasing age to 15.
- It will be available on shelves instead of behind-the-counter. Keep reading »
Pediatricians should discuss emergency contraception with their teenaged patients and even write advance prescriptions, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended earlier this week. The morning-after pill should be taken 120 hours after unprotected sex, but is more effective the sooner it is taken. If taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, Plan B is almost 90 percent more effective than saying “No babies no babies no babies!” three times fast. Advance prescriptions, the AAP, explained, would help prevent teen pregnancies and put MTV’s “16 & Pregnant” franchise out of business. Keep reading »
Taking the morning-after pill in a timely fashion has been one of the biggest hurdles to overcome when it comes to reproductive rights. Emergency contraception (which prevents ovulation so an egg cannot be fertilized, as well as thins the lining of the uterus so a fertilized egg cannot be implanted) is most effective if taken within five days of unprotected sex — but the sooner the better. Even though EC, in theory, became more accessible when the FDA announced it could be sold over-the-counter to women age 17 and up, that did not play out in reality. Women who live in rural areas, as well as women who live anyplace where a pharmacist can cite a so-called conscience clause and tell her “no, not dispensing that!”, still have to do a lot of frantic scrambling at an already stressful time.
But one college in Pennsylvania has a brilliant idea on how to make EC more accessible when it is needed most: Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, put a vending machine filled with Plan B in the health center. Keep reading »
Fact checking time! Mitt Romney hit the campaign trail in Colorado last night and referred to emergency contraception/the morning-after pill as “abortive pills.” This could be because he or his team genuinely doesn’t understand that emergency contraception (Plan B) and the abortion pill (RU-486) are two completely different pills. Or it could be because he’s irresponsibly trying to totally conflate the two for political gain, which I am sure would shock — shock! — you coming from an anti-abortion politician. (Is Mitt anti-abortion this week? I can never keep track!)
Let’s recap, very briefly: The morning-after pill prevents a pregnancy by stopping a woman’s ovaries from releasing eggs — which could be fertilized by the sperm and go implant in the uterus — as well as thinning the lining of a woman’s uterus so a fertilized egg cannot implant. The RU-486 abortion pill, on the other hand, ends an existing pregnancy — as in, the fertilized egg has already implanted in the uterus and a fetus is growing. (I explain it all in more detail in this post.)
See? Two different things, Mitt. Keep reading »