When it comes to landmark Supreme Court rulings, few garnered as much controversy as Roe v. Wade.
This controversial court ruling specifically handled cases of emergency contraception and abortions.
The 1973 decision meant the federal government viewed abortion as a constitutionally protected right. As a result, abortion became legal nationwide. Women across the United States had the right to choose for themselves.
That changed in the summer of 2022. The Supreme Court reversed its earlier decision, lifting the federal protections that allowed women in every state to undergo abortion procedures.
Suddenly, states could decide for themselves whether or not a woman has the right to choose. Almost overnight, states like Missouri began enforcing anti-abortion legislation previously deemed unconstitutional.
The recent ruling restricts abortion rights nationwide, but what about access to contraceptives? As of now, traditional birth control remains legal coast to coast.
Yet there remain legitimate concerns over the fate of access to emergency contraceptives.
To help women across the country better understand their rights going forward, the following is a summary of essential information regarding emergency contraceptives.
We know that it can seem scary and stressful, but there are networks of women not just in the United States but across the globe who seek to make emergency contraceptives more accessible to others.
In this time of uncertainty, women must stand together and support each other. Simply just spreading information and knowledge can help a lot of people!
So if you’re wanting to know more about emergency contraceptives, keep reading.
Information About Emergency Contraception
What is Emergency Contraception?
Most references to emergency contraception refer to a medication known as Plan B. Also known as the morning-after pill, Plan B is a high dosage form of traditional birth control.
The sooner it’s taken after sex, the more likely it will work to prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg. Since it works to prevent fertilization, not terminate a pregnancy, it’s not considered an abortion pill.
Plan B pills can be purchased at your local pharmacy.
Is Emergency Contraception Still Available?
Despite the recent ruling on abortion, emergency contraceptives remain legally available nationwide. Every woman in the United States has access to Plan B and contraceptives.
In fact, President Biden recently signed an executive order expanding access to emergency contraception. This means that women who live in rural areas can also receive access to birth control and contraceptives.
This also means that women who can’t afford contraceptives or without health insurance can have access to them as well.
Do You Need a Prescription for Emergency Contraception?
You do not need a prescription to purchase emergency contraceptives. Plan B can be purchased over-the-counter at most pharmacies, and generic Plan B can even be ordered online.
Places in the United States like CVS and Walgreens offer emergency contraception. You can also find contraceptives in general like condoms at these locations.
For long-term birth control, it is worth seeing a doctor. Finding a good OB-GYN can help you get on something like a pill or an IUD to prevent pregnancy in the future.
There are many online resources to obtain birth control, such as Nurx. This is a good resource for women who don’t have access or cannot get a local doctor.
Is Emergency Contraception Safe?
Emergency contraception has been used by millions of women around the world for over 30 years. There’s never been any evidence to suggest it leads to serious complications.
While the morning-after pill is known for causing a variety of uncomfortable symptoms, these symptoms go away after a few days. So the answer is yes, emergency contraception is completely safe.
It’s important to read up on the morning after pill. For example, women over a certain weight may need to take more or may need to understand that it won’t be as effective.
For more information on that, check out websites like Planned Parenthood. They can help you with any and all contraceptive needs.
Does Emergency Contraception Make it Harder to Become Pregnant Later?
There is no evidence to suggest that taking the morning-after pill affects a woman’s ability to become pregnant at a later date. The medication does not make it harder to conceive, nor does it cause any harm to the body.
Does Emergency Contraception Work Every Time?
No. A small percentage of women who take the morning-after pill will still become pregnant.
Does Emergency Contraception Expire?
Like most medications, Plan B expires after several years. Those thinking about stocking up on emergency contraception will need to check the expiration date before use.
While it’s possible that Plan B will work past its expiration date, the stakes are too high to leave it to chance.
What are the Side Effects of Using Emergency Contraception?
Emergency contraceptives work by essentially forcing a woman’s body to start the menstrual cycle before the egg gets the chance to be fertilized by sperm.
It’s an effective but aggressive method of contraception, leading to severe side effects. The side effects of using Pan B include abdominal cramps, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, headaches, and bleeding between cycles.
Fortunately, these symptoms only last a few days.
Is Emergency Contraception Okay to Use Regularly?
While emergency contraceptives are safe to use, the intense side effects make it unsuitable for regular birth control. Plan B should only be taken in a true emergency.
Will the Individual States Make Emergency Contraception Illegal?
The Supreme Court ruling made it clear that the decision does not interfere with a woman’s right to use birth control.
However, it’s possible that states will use specific language to write legislation that limits access to contraceptives, including Plan B.
But as of now, contraceptives like Plan B remain legal even in states with exceptional restrictions placed on abortion, such as Missouri. Time will tell if that access remains available in the future.
The Outlook Going Forward
It’s unlikely there will be a federal abortion law passed anytime soon. Such a law would essentially re-introduce federal protections regarding a woman’s right to choose.
But until then, there remains the potential for further restrictions placed on reproductive rights across the country.
Women of reproductive age will need to think about where they live and stay on top of any further developments regarding abortion rights and access to emergency contraceptives.
As of now, the majority of women in the United States still have access to legal abortion as well as emergency contraceptives. But unfortunately, those rights are no longer explicitly protected by the constitution.
Because of this, unfortunately, women must be as educated as possible on contraceptives. This includes long-term contraceptives like IUD insertions and the pill.
However, things happen, and knowing your options if you aren’t able to access birth control is important. That’s why knowing all you can about emergency contraceptives is so imperative.
Even if you knew all of this, it never hurts to spread the word. Educating others can be potentially life-saving! Sharing this article truly is caring because you never know if it may end up in the hands of someone who needs it.
We need more safe spaces where women can educate others and educate themselves. This information should not be kept under wraps, and every woman should know her contraceptive options. Sharing is caring!