Improve access to Plan B®
BECOME AN EMERGENCY BIRTH CONTROL PROVIDER.
- Register to be included in the national directory of providers on the emergency contraception Web site www.not-2-late.com or hotline 1.888.NOT.2.LATE.
- Offer emergency birth control pills regardless of the setting of your practice whether it is a physician’s office, family planning clinic, urgent care center, or health department clinic.
EDUCATE YOUNG WOMEN AGES 16-24 ABOUT EMERGENCY BIRTH CONTROL PILLS.
- Studies show that, once informed about emergency birth control pills, about three-fourths of young women would be likely to take the pills if needed. Use posters and patient education pamphlets in waiting areas to inform young women about where to obtain and how to use emergency birth control pills, including information about the Food and Drug Administration’s August 2006 decision to permit nonprescription sales of Plan B® to women ages 18 and over.
- Encourage young women who need emergency birth control pills to adopt a regular contraceptive method as well. Providing emergency birth control pills creates an opportunity to introduce young women to regular reproductive health care.
- Encourage young women who have been forced or coerced into sex to take emergency birth control pills, get testing and counseling for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, and receive treatment if necessary. Encourage them to report the assault to the police if they wish to do so. Reporting the assault is not mandatory under South Carolina law.
PROVIDE YOUNG WOMEN AGES 16-24 WITH EMERGENCY BIRTH CONTROL PILLS BEFORE THEY NEED THEM!
Provide young women ages 16 and 17 with a prescription for emergency birth control pills during routine visits. Advance prescriptions will ensure that young women can use emergency birth control pills as soon as possible after unprotected sex. Young women who have emergency birth control pills on hand can begin treatment sooner than those who have to get a prescription and/or get it filled.
HELP WOMEN GET EMERGENCY BIRTH CONTROL PILLS WHEN THEY NEED THEM.
1. Provide emergency birth control pills in a timely manner.
- Research shows that emergency birth control pills work best if begun in the first 24 hours after unprotected sex.
- Emergency birth control pills can be up to 89 percent effective at preventing pregnancy if taken in the first three days (72 hours) after unprotected sex.
- Emergency birth control pills may still be somewhat effective if taken up to five days (120 hours) after unprotected sex.
- Provide emergency birth control pills in advance. Research shows that young women are most likely to use emergency birth control pills when they need them, if they have been given emergency birth control pills in advance.
- Simplify the response time when young women call needing emergency birth control pills. Be willing to assess the young woman’s need over the phone. Be sure to allow walk-in appointments.
2. Keep costs reasonable.
- The American Medical Association, American Medical Women’s Association, American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists, Society for Adolescent Medicine, and American Academy of Pediatrics (among others) agree that:
- Emergency birth control pills are safer than aspirin
- Should be available without prescription, and
- Can be safely prescribed/provided without a pelvic exam, blood tests. or pregnancy testing.
- Use a system of sliding-scale fees to provide low-cost or free emergency birth control pills.
3. Make emergency birth control services accessible and youth friendly.
- Educate ALL staff about issues pertaining to emergency birth control. Train receptionists, volunteers, and medical assistants, as well as counselors and clinicians on office policies and procedures regarding emergency birth control pills.
- Provide information on the office’s voice mail and front door, describing how to get emergency birth control pills when the office or clinic is closed.
- Be willing to refer a young woman to another health care provider who may be more financially and/or logistically convenient. Try to develop formal referral networks with family planning clinics, hospitals, health maintenance organizations, urgent care centers, physicians' offices, community-based organizations, pharmacies, and local health departments.