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Why Women Need the "Morning-After" Pill

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There are plenty of reasons we should all be thankful that the medical community created emergency contraception (EC) (aka the "morning-after" pill).

I learned about it just after it became available from a good friend, who told me she took it after a condom broke during sex. Several other friends have told me similar stories since. I also think it's great that women who can't take daily hormonal birth-control pills may be able to use EC as a backup to their non-hormonal contraception of choice. And, of course, it's vital that women who are raped can get EC at a hospital. I can't imagine how horrible it would be for a rape survivor to worry about a possible pregnancy on top of the trauma she experienced from the rape itself.

While I haven't used the "morning-after" pill, I'm glad it's there for me if I ever need it. Today, EC is available to women aged 17 and older without a prescription. That means you just have to go up to the pharmacist and ask for it. Since EC is most effective up to five days after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure, being able to get it without a prescription at pharmacies helps women get the medication quickly. In my opinion, that's pretty amazing. It allows women like me to take control over their own reproductive health, without needing to make an appointment at a clinic or with their doctor. Younger women still need to get a prescription and then find a pharmacist to fill it--sometimes facing barriers to timely access.

No one should be made to feel embarrassed for taking control of their own bodies and their own lives. If you've used EC, or are just grateful it exists in case you need it, you're not alone. Really, if you've had any kind of experience with any kind of reproductive-health care, you're not alone. Hundreds of women have shared their stories with us. After you read some, maybe you'll be inspired to share your own story, too.

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