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Emergency birth control pills and the law in South Carolina
In South Carolina, emergency rooms are required by law to provide emergency birth control to young women who have been raped or sexually assaulted if they want it. (If you also report the assault to the police, South Carolina law says that you won’t have to pay for emergency room medical care or for emergency birth control pills the hospital gives you. But you should also understand that in South Carolina you do not have to report sexual assault to the police. You can be treated and get emergency birth control pills without talking to the police.)
- Have you been forced to have sex?
- Sexually assaulted?
If it happened within the last three days, you still have time to keep from getting pregnant.
Remember - you didn't do anything wrong, and it wasn't your fault.
Now you can help yourself.
Rape is a terrible thing to go through. If you’ve been raped, you may be deciding whether to go to a hospital, talk to the police, and/or call family or friends. You may also be scared that you will get pregnant. Did you know that you can prevent a pregnancy by taking emergency birth control pills after rape?
What Can I Do Now to Prevent Pregnancy?
You can take emergency birth control pills a stronger dose of regular birth control pills that you take after sex to keep from getting pregnant.
1. Go to the nearest emergency room (ER). Tell them what happened to you. Say that you want emergency birth control pills (also called emergency contraception, the morning after pill or Plan B®) so you won’t get pregnant. Your local rape crisis center can tell you which hospitals offer the medication. If you wish, the center may also arrange for a counselor to meet you at the hospital.
2. You have rights. In South Carolina, emergency rooms are required by law to provide emergency birth control pills to young women who have been raped or sexually assaulted if they ask for it. For more information on your rights, please visit the State Office of Victim Assitance. (If you also report the assault to the police, South Carolina law says that you won’t have to pay for medical care or for emergency birth control pills the hospital gives you. But you should also understand that in South Carolina you do not have to report sexual assault to the police. You can be treated and get emergency birth control pills without talking to the police.)
3. What if the nearest ER is far away or won’t help you? You can call 1-800-Not-2-Late or visit www.not-2-late.org to find a health care provider near you. You can also call Planned Parenthood or go to your nearest community health clinic. Many college health centers also provide this medication.
4. Get counseling and support. For the nearest counseling center, visit the South Carolina Coalition against Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault at www.sccadvasa.org/members.aspx.
5. Think about getting testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and get treated, if you’ve been infected.
What Else Should I Know?
This page is about preventing pregnancy after a rape. But, other things are important, too. For example,
- Find a safe environment away from the attacker. Ask a trusted friend or relative to stay with you for moral support.
- Save the evidence. For example, if you plan to report the rape to the police, don't bathe until after you have gone to the ER.
- Get medical attention. Even if you haven’t been injured, you need care because of your risk of STIs and pregnancy. Ask the hospital to conduct a rape kit exam and, if you think you might have been drugged, ask them to collect a urine sample.
- Call the National Sexual Assault Hotline, operated by RAINN, for free, confidential counseling, 24 hours a day, seven days a week: 1.800.656.HOPE.
- Report the rape to law enforcement authorities. A counselor can help you understand the process.
- Remember that it wasn't your fault.
- Healing from rape takes time. Give yourself time. Be good to yourself because you deserve it.