Emergency contraception is completely legal and available without a prescription for anyone 17 years and older. So why is it so hard to get?
Because by keeping it behind a pharmacist’s counter, it can either be accidentally or purposefully withheld.
Researchers posing as 17-year-old women called pharmacies around the country to ask about getting EC. First off, nearly 20% of the callers were told straight-up that they couldn’t get EC that day–whether because it wasn’t in stock or they didn’t want to give it out or maybe the person who answered the phone hadn’t been trained yet. Regardless, tough luck for the caller who’d really, really like to try to avoid getting pregnant ASAP. Once the callers revealed their age, almost 20% of pharmacies claimed that 17-year-olds could not get the drug–despite the fact that, um, they damn well can. Furthermore, the study found that women in poorer neighborhoods were more than 60% more likely to be misinformed than those in more affluent neighborhoods.
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Can you imagine if pharmacists or clerks could do the same with other age restrictedd items like cigarettes and liquor?