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Why Young Women Need Access to Plan B

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Emma Weinstein-Levey is the press intern at NARAL Pro-Choice America

PlanB_teens_small.jpgPicture this: Your best friend calls you. She and her boyfriend practiced safe sex last night, but the condom broke. She's freaking out and doesn't know what to do. She isn't on birth control, she can't afford an unplanned pregnancy and isn't ready to become a parent, and she's afraid to tell her parents.

You tell her not to worry because she can get emergency contraception at her local pharmacy. Your friend and her boyfriend go to the pharmacy together and pick up some emergency contraception (EC) or Plan B®. Without the fear of unplanned pregnancy, she can go on with her life.

This is how it should be, right? Accidents happen, even when you're careful. So it makes sense that there should be a backup method available for when things don't go according to plan.

Sadly, that's just not the reality. Women often face shame and judgment when they try to buy Plan B® from the pharmacy, and some pharmacists refuse to sell Plan B® altogether!

Medical professionals agree that emergency contraception should be available to all women, but it's currently only available without a prescription to women over 17.

A federal judge ruled that emergency contraception should be available over-the-counter without age restrictions. But since then, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice have made matters more complicated by prioritizing politics over science.

The struggle for wider availability of emergency contraception is an integral part of choice. EC empowers young women (and men!) to take charge of their reproductive health and allows them to decide when, how, and with whom to start a family.

That's the definition of reproductive freedom.

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