In a blatant disregard for women’s reproductive health, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has prohibited its pharmacists from distribution the PREVEN(TM) Emergency Contraceptive Kit.
While the retailer has instructed its pharmacists to refer customers to other sources of the drug, this referral may be “too little, too late” for many women, given that the PREVEN(TM) regimen must be started within 72 hours of birth control failure or after sex without birth control. Low-income women and women living in rural areas may find the trip to a second pharmacy impossible within this limited time frame.
Leading pharmacy chains CVS, Walgreen’s, Eckerd, and Rite Aid all carry the PREVEN(TM) kits, according to the pharmaceutical trade publication Drug Store News. Editor Marie Griffin told the New York Times that retailers are obligation to carry drugs that doctors have prescribed for their patients, and “should not get involved” in doctor-patient relationships.
Pro-Life America, Protestants Against Birth Control, and Pharmacists for Life International have all issued statements in opposition to emergency contraception, arguing that in addition to preventing pregnancy by stopping ovulation, the drug could potentially prevent implantation of a fertilized egg in women who have already ovulated.
PREVEN(TM) developer Gynetics, Inc., stated in a press statement that “the only definitive clinical evidence” shows that PREVEN(TM) prevents pregnancy “by delaying or preventing ovulation.” The statement continued, “Theories about other modes of action of birth control pills may include prevention of fertilization or implantation.”
Women’s organizations including the Feminist Majority, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the National Organization for Women condemn Wal-Mart’s ban on PREVEN(TM). Please take the following action to help preserve women’s reproductive rights: