Local health officials share what you need to know before stocking up on plan B

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) — With what lies ahead for Roe vs. Wade, that question still hangs in the air: what about emergency contraception?

Currently, Plan B, also known as the morning after pill, is one of the most accessible options for women. It is available over the counter without a prescription. But many fear it will end if Roe vs. Wade is knocked down.

“Birth control has an expiration date, like all medications. So it is very important that people are aware, when keeping medications at home, of the expiry date. So when keeping drugs in the home, it’s all emotional,” said Brittany Fonteno, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Arizona.

She also said stockpiling birth control pills and emergency contraception may not be the safest option. And if the pill has expired, like most medicines, its effectiveness cannot be guaranteed.

Dr. Holly Bullock, Fellow of the American College in Obstetrics and Gynecologists, said the same thing.

“Would that make anyone sick, wouldn’t it?” But could it not achieve the goal of why someone is taking it to get enough of this hormone to delay ovulation, that would be the part that’s not known,” Bullock said. “It might not do what someone wants it to do if it’s past that expiration date,” she added.

Bullock added that pills, patches and rings are all hormonal methods that can all be prescribed and for a year at a time as a longer-term solution.

Last December, the FDA approved mail order abortion pills with prescription, making the abortion pill available to women in the first ten weeks of pregnancy.

Arizona has one of the most restrictive and complex laws for obtaining the abortion pill. This could be another lost option if Roe vs. Wade is canceled. Proponents say it’s less invasive and more discreet. It’s just not as safe as a surgical abortion.

With all of this in mind, the general message from health officials is to be cautious and see a health care provider you trust, rather than just keep items handy.

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