Happy “Back Up Your Birth Control” National Day of Action, Persephoneers!
Today is dedicated to the wonder and glory that is Plan B and other forms of emergency contraception (EC). The “Back Up Your Birth Control” website lists several ways to get involved, including signing the petition calling on the FDA to end restrictions on EC, signing the petition to say that contraception is prevention (so it should not be subject to co-pays or other out-of-pocket costs), and joining their social media campaign.
One of the best ways to be prepared for pregnancy prevention is to have a dose of Plan B in your medicine cabinet or stashed in the back of a drawer somewhere. If you’re 17 or older, you can get it over the counter without a prescription. Plan B’s website has an easy pharmacy locator where you just plug in your zip code. Bonus: there’s also a printable $10-off coupon!
If you’re under 17, you need a prescription for EC. But if you can’t afford a doctor’s visit, you can either get it from Planned Parenthood or call your OB/GYN or regular doctor and ask them to phone in a prescription to the pharmacy.
Since I know calling the doctor and asking for something like this can be difficult and embarrassing, here’s a little script for you:
“Hi, my name is _____, and I’d like to request a prescription for Plan B. I don’t need it right now, but I’d like to have a backup dose on hand in case of an emergency. Could you call a prescription for Plan B One-Step to _____ pharmacy? Their number is ________. Thank you!”
If you’re over 17 but squeamish about asking the pharmacist for it, Plan B’s website has this helpful card that you can print out and hand in. I’ve seen pre-printed cards like this on the counter at my local pharmacy, which I think is fantastic. Yay for removing barriers to access!
Another great thing you can do today is share your story about emergency contraception. Here’s mine: when I was 19, I met Adam through a friend. Adam was super cute and staying in a hotel near my dorm for the weekend. We ended up spending the weekend having sex in said hotel room. On Sunday afternoon, we got into a bitter argument about nothing in particular. When I got home, I realized I’d only started using hormonal BC again the week before. I got suuuuuuper paranoid and realized I could theoretically get pregnant. This was back before Plan B was available over the counter. I went to Plan B’s website, and they listed numbers you could call to get an emergency prescription. I called it and had a friend drive me to the nearest pharmacy that was open late on a Sunday night. I took the two pills (now it’s only one), didn’t have any side effects, AND didn’t get pregnant!
But I was lucky. I was lucky I could afford it (I think it was around $20), lucky I had Internet access, lucky there was a pharmacy in my town that offered it, and lucky that a friend had a car and could drive me. That’s why you should always have a dose of Plan B available. If you go to Planned Parenthood for birth control, you can ask for a backup dose of Plan B. They are more than happy to give them out. Remember: it’s always better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it!