by Mary Tuma
Our alt-weekly partners around the nation joined forces to shine light on the availability of Plan B emergency contraceptive. The Where is Your Plan B? project– a collaborative effort between the Association of Alternative Newsmedia and the Media Consortium– seeks to answer: “Are stores turning what should be a personal, private health decision into an uncomfortable and unpleasant experience for women during what is already a stressful time?”
The FDA approved Plan B as an over-the-counter drug for all women of child- bearing age in June, presumably making it easier to access. However, that doesn’t seem to match the reality. For instance, after scouring pharmacies in Los Angeles, Ms. Magazine discovered five key “lingering roadblocks” to obtaining the drug like “poorly informed employees” who may ask for an I.D. or a doctor’s prescription when neither is actually required.
The Kentucky-based LEO Weekly shopped at a dozen pharmacies in Louisville for Plan B and came up with similar results– almost half of the stores didn’t have the product available and three stores had handouts that incorrectly stated, “individuals under the age of 17 needed a prescription to purchase the product.” And in Texas, the Austin Chronicle found access to Plan B and other basic reproductive services to be “limited, costly or nonexistent.”
The project invites you to do your own investigating– after visiting your local pharmacy, you can fill out this form indicating any restrictions who faced when trying to access the emergency contraceptive. The data will be used to create a map showing the Plan B availability across the nation.
Read more about the many barriers women still face in obtaining Plan B here: www.WhereIsYourPlanB.com