As from today the emergency contraceptive ‘the morning after pill’ or Plan B, will be available to any adult in the United States from hundreds of Planned Parenthood centers.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s top sexual and reproductive health care advocate and provider and has more than 860 health centers nationwide and they will be giving away free packs of the emergency contraceptives today, in a bid to decrease unintended pregnancy rates.
Plan B is now also legally available over the counter at all pharmacies, and is an extremely effective second chance at preventing conception.
Plan B, is safe and has an 89% success ratio and can be used up to 5 days after unprotected sex.
Should a woman already be pregnant, the pill does not harm the fetus.
It is not intended to be used as a single method of birth control, but as a backup method in case of emergency.
Experts and advocates for the emergency contraceptive say the pills can be used if a condom breaks or slips off or if a woman misses two doses of birth control pills or has unprotected sex.
The pills are also vital in rape cases.
The nationwide promotion of Plan B by Planned Parenthood is part of a strategy to make a larger number of people aware of and familiar with emergency contraception and over 350 Planned Parenthood health centers in 34 states are involved in the initiative.
The centers will also provide counseling at discounted rates where women can consult health care professionals regarding any conception-related issues and will after today provide Plan B at much cheaper rates ($25) than pharmacies ($40).
Planned Parenthood’s promotion comes at a time when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) has granted approval for the drug to be made available over the counter without a prescription from a doctor.
Girls under 18 will however still need a doctor’s prescription.
Planned Parenthood provides sexual advice to nearly five million women, men, and teens each year regardless of their income, marital status, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, national origin, or residence.
Planned Parenthood says it is committed to educating women and couples about emergency contraception and all their birth control options.
Other suggest Planned Parenthood is also aiming to change its image and focus on women’s health, rather than being seen as just an abortion provider.
Revision date: June 21, 2011
Last revised: by Sebastian Scheller, MD, ScD