In honor of today’s call to action by Back Up Your Birth Control, I’m re-posting something I wrote last year on the topic. Please follow the link above for more information about emergency contraception, your right to obtain it, how it works and where to get it.
Almost one year after the FDA approved Emergency Contraception (EC) for over-the-counter sales to men and women at least 18 years of age, the actual availability of EC in pharmacies is not guaranteed.
A recent study released by NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina contains alarming statistics that indicate widespread unavailability of EC, a glaring lack of knowledge about EC among pharmacists, individual pharmacy regulations for obtaining EC that directly violate federal regulations and anecdotal evidence to suggest that individual pharmacists are refusing to dispense EC based on their religious beliefs.
According to the study:
- Nearly one-fourth of pharmacists stated EC was the same as the abortion pill (it’s not) and nearly 5% stated that EC caused an abortion (it doesn’t – EC prevents ovulation)
- 40% of pharmacists did not have EC in stock, and of these, 30% refused to order it
- Only 57% of pharmacies in rural areas had EC in stock
- Prices for EC varied from $20 – $500
- 11% of pharmacists said they would require a prescription for all women seeking EC
Think North Carolina is some sort of exception? Aside from the fact that the state is overly represented on the board of Christian Pharmacists Fellowship International (“Dispensing Hope and Encouragement” I kid you not) I doubt NC is unique.
We also know that approximately once every two and a half minutes, our television is going to assault us with another queasy ad promoting a drug for erectile dysfunction, guaranteed to turn his little pinky into something the cat can’t scratch down in less than four hours.
Does your local pharmacist have a problem dispensing that drug? I doubt it.
Better than nothing? You tell me.