Women should get a prescription for emergency contraception (EC) now, in case they need it later, advises the new “Ask Me” campaign by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The campaign, launched Monday, seeks to bypass the FDA, which has not yet approved Plan B, a brand of emergency contraception, for over-the-counter sales despite the recommendations of its own scientists.
“We want women to be prepared, well before a contraceptive failure or unprotected sex occurs. Afterward may be too late,” said ACOG President Doctor Michael Mennuti in a press release. Greater access to the morning-after pill could prevent nearly half of the 3 million unwanted pregnancies reported each year in the US. Emergency contraception is most effective if taken within 24 hours of unprotected sex, birth-control failure, or rape. Most states require a doctor’s prescription, which takes time and therefore increases risk of pregnancy. Making access even more difficult, in some states pharmacists can refuse to fill EC prescriptions based on religious beliefs.