Key points to remember
- The Supreme Court is set to end federal abortion rights protections, according to a leaked draft opinion.
- In the hours after the news broke, some took to social media, encouraging others to get an emergency supply of plan B, birth control pills and abortion pills in case access to these drugs would be restricted.
- While it might be a good idea to have a plan B on hand, experts warn that pills eventually expire and storing them can limit access for others.
Monday, Politics published a leaked draft notice stating that Roe vs. Wadethe historic decision that guarantees the right to access abortion, could soon be reversed.
In the hours after the news broke, social media was flooded with frenzied posts about stockpiling contraceptives and plan B. Interest in the search terms “abortion pill” tripled and “buy plan b” quadrupled, according to data from Google Trends.
Twitter users shared links to buy Plan B online, urging others establish an emergency reserve in case the drug becomes difficult to acquire. In an email to Verywell, a CVS spokesperson said emergency contraception “continues to be available at CVS pharmacies,” but gave no sales update.
Plan C, a non-profit organization that provides information on obtaining medically safe abortion pills, saw 56,000 visitors after the news, according to the Washington Post. Those seeking an abortion can obtain the pills online, sometimes from foreign pharmacies that are not subject to US law. Plan C lets people order abortion pills, “to keep in their medicine cabinet in case their period is late.”
The abortion pill
Mifepristone, commonly known as the abortion pill, is taken with a second pill, misoprostol. The drug can be taken at home, but often requires a prescription.
What are your options for emergency contraception?
There are currently two types of emergency contraception approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Plan B One-Step, sometimes called the “morning after pill,” is the only emergency contraceptive available without a prescription. There are several generic versions of this formula, including AfterPill, My Way, Next Choice One Dose, and Take Action.
Plan B and its generic counterparts are available over the counter at most pharmacies and can be ordered online. Also, from 2013, people of all ages can buy it.
Plan B contains a concentrated dose of progestin, a synthetic hormone found in many other forms of birth control. Progestin prevents pregnancy by stopping or slowing ovulation, so sperm in the uterus or vagina have no chance of fertilizing an egg.
The other emergency contraceptive is a drug called ella, which requires a prescription. Plan B is less effective for people weighing more than 155 pounds or with a body mass index greater than 25. Ella, on the other hand, remains effective for this group, said Sophia Yen, MD, MPH, associate clinical professor at Stanford Medical School and co-founder of Pandia Health, a birth control delivery company.
Yen said copper and hormonal intrauterine devices (IUDs), which can also work as emergency contraceptives, are even more effective than ella for people with a BMI over 25.
To best prevent pregnancy, Plan B should be taken as soon as possible after sex and within 72 hours. Take ella within five days of having sex.
Because time is running out with the morning after pill, Yen said she recommends her patients keep a supply of emergency contraception on hand. It can save you the time and effort of rushing to a pharmacy after unprotected sex.
Does the morning after pill expire?
Plan B has a shelf life of four years and it expires after three years. For the exact month and year the pills expire, you can check the information printed on the side of the box.
When buying an emergency contraceptive, Yen recommends asking the pharmacist or health care provider which medicine has the longest expiry date.
Medications will stay potent longer if stored properly. This means keeping it in a dry, dark place. You might consider keeping it in a closet or drawer somewhere other than the bathroom, where it can get damp or damp. It is best stored at room temperature or between 68 and 77 degrees.
Have an emergency stash, but only buy what you need
It is a good idea to keep a supply of emergency and non-emergency contraception. Yen recommends having your birth control automated or opting for a long-acting reversible contraceptive, like an IUD that can protect you for years.
But some warn that access to drugs could become even more limited if people decide to stockpile them.
In a Tweeterauthor Amy Jo Cousins wrote: “Please do NOT order Plan B tonight unless you have a real plan to distribute it in your community, or we will have a million doses expiring in medicine cabinets when people who need it can’t get it. , because it is exhausted.
Others shared links distribution networks and self-help systems that distribute medicines in their communities to people who need them.
“If people accumulate [the pills], then those who need it won’t be able to get it,” Yen said. “However, if I was in one of the 28 states that could ban abortion, I would at least have emergency contraception. Abortion drugs are harder to get and more expensive.
What this means for you
Most insurance plans provide free emergency contraception and birth control when prescribed by a doctor. Your plan may also cover over-the-counter emergency contraception from a pharmacy.