Got Plan B? Essay Contest for Young Women!

Amie Newman

Young women deserve the truth! Today is Back Up Your Birth Control with Emergency Contraception Day and Pharmacy Access Partnership is looking to talk to - and hear from - young women about their thoughts and opinions on this safe way to prevent pregnancy.

Are you between the ages of 14 and 24 years old?

Do you know someone who is?

Pass it on: Pharmacy Access Partnership and Rewire are pleased to announce our essay contest, open to young people 14-24 years of age. The theme? "Got Plan B? Why access to Plan B emergency contraception is important." The winning opinion piece will be published on Rewire!

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We're launching our contest today because it's Back Up Your Birth Control with Emergency Contraception (EC) Day – a day to shine a light on what emergency contraception is (sold as "Plan B"), how young women can access it and why they should. Young women deserve access to and information about all of their pregnancy prevention options.

Here are the facts about what Plan B emergency contraception is and what it isn't:

Plan B (also called the "morning-after" pill even though it's actually two pills taken 12 hours apart) is a safe and effective way to prevent pregnancy after you've had unprotected, unintended or unwanted sex. Plan B emergency contraception pills have the same hormones as regular birth control pills; Plan B EC is not the same as the "abortion pill" or RU-486 and does not cause an abortion of any kind – it is a form of birth control that you can use up to 5 days after unprotected sex.

How can you find Plan B?

If you are a woman over 18 years old, you can buy Plan B straight from a pharmacist without a prescription. For those of you under 18 years old you can get Plan B from a clinic, or a physician but you cannot purchase Plan B directly from a pharmacist without a prescription. Either way, you can get Plan B before you need it so you have it just in case.

There are challenges. Some pharmacists are refusing to fill prescriptions or even sell Plan B at all based on personal objections. Also, many young women can't afford the cost of Plan B or don't have insurance to cover it. And if you do have insurance or can scrape together the money, there is still the question of finding a provider or clinic that sells it.

We want to hear from you!

What do you think are the most important issues related to emergency contraception/Plan B for young women? Would you like to see greater education and access to information so more young women know what Plan B is and how to access it? Do you want to advocate for the right to access Plan B?

Whatever you're thinking, write it down and send it to us!

To enter, please submit a text-only essay of up to 200 words by April 25, 2008, to iddaffner@phi.org. Please include your name, city and state, email and phone number (all personal information will remain confidential, this is for contact purposes only). For more information, visit Pharmacy Access Partnership.

*For suggestions on how to write an opinion piece, visit the Communications Consortium Media Center.

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