Easy to Get Plan B? Not Always

| Mon Oct. 7, 2013 7:40 PM EDT

Last June, after a protracted political fight and complicated legal battle, the US Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Plan B One-Step emergency contraception for all women of childbearing age without a prescription. The move marked a major victory for reproductive rights activists, and for women and men everywhere who are now supposed to be able to pick up the morning-after pill off of pharmacy and grocery store shelves without being required to show ID or proof of age.

But five months after the FDA's approval, consumers are still having problems accessing the 72-hour pill. Some of the problems stem from confusion about the law, or from a bureaucracy slow to update the regulations. In other cases, women are deterred by misinformation about the medication; it's known in pro-life circles, for instance, as an "abortion pill."

These barriers prompted a group of media outlets to launch "Where is your Plan B?", a reporting and crowd-sourcing collaboration to determine how easily women can access Plan B One-Step in their communities. (Disclosure: Some of the outlets belong to The Media Consortium, which The Foundation for National Progress, Mother Jones' parent organization, co-founded.)

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