ACLU Makes Walgreens Sell Men Emergency Contraceptives

The ACLU says it found out Walgreens stores in Texas and Mississippi refused to sell emergency contraceptives to men, then pressured the pharmacy to order those locations to fall in line with corporate policy and let the men have their morning-after pills.

From a blog post penned by ACLU executives on RH Reality Check:

Walgreens recently issued a bulletin to all of their pharmacies nationwide instructing them that emergency contraception can be sold to “male and female customers age 17 and older.”

The bulletin also said that a male customer who asks to purchase emergency contraception need not be “accompanied by a female, and does not need to identify the individual for whom he is purchasing the product.” This policy tracks the FDA’s guidelines for distribution of emergency contraception.

Have you ever purchased emergency contraceptives? What road blocks stopped you from getting the product?

It Takes Two to Tango [RHRealityCheck]
(Thanks, Brent!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Ben says:


  2. osiris73 says:

    Do these emergency contraceptives need a doctor’s prescription? It’s not mentioned in either article. I presume they do?

    • mocena says:
    • tsukiotoshi says:

      No, Plan B does not require a prescription.

      • mergatroy6 says:

        The way that the name “Plan B” sounds so nonchalant has always bothered me.

        • pantheonoutcast says:

          Doctors prefer Embry-no!

        • babyruthless says:

          You’re right. They should really call it “if you can’t take this within 72 hours, then you’ll get pregnant and then you’ll really be screwed.” That would sound much less nonchalant.

          • brinks says:

            Or they could have called it “You should have used a condom.”

            Honestly, that’s accurate.

            • pervy_the_clown says:

              Right because condoms don’t ever break?

            • knackeredmom says:

              Condoms break sometimes.

            • strathmeyer says:

              “I saved a lot of kids from boring sex.”

            • ngoandy says:

              Tell that to the rapist.

            • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

              I did use a condom, and it broke. Plan B is much better, thanks for your self-righteousness though!

            • kujospam says:

              Sigh, After my second kid, my wife and I used condoms every time, but she still ended up having another one. Only reason I didn’t get snipped yet is because we still wanted 2 more, but not for a few more years down the road. It must of had a tear or broke and I didn’t notice it. Then again, who looks at the condom before having sex. Sigh. LOL

              • Berries_n_Brains_Cereal_is_Zombilicious says:

                With those new ultra-thins you simply cannot tell it has broken and they often do. I’ve seen just about as much breakage with the thicker ones and must less feeling, so I figure go with the thinner ones be more careful about applying them which seems to have worked rather well so far.

        • NarcolepticGirl says:

          How about “Anti-Baby” Pill ?

          • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

            Well, since the people who go take this obviously don’t want a baby, I see no harm in it. At least they get it when it is still a blastocyst consisting of a few cells that hasn’t attached to the mother, instead of having an abortion when there is an embryo with arms, legs, a heart beat, etc…

            • tcp100 says:

              Incorrect. Plan B / EC prevents fertilization. Hence, the 72 hour efficacy time. There is no blastocyst, there is no grouping of cells.. That’s why there’s been such an uproar – people don’t understand that it is NOT an abortion pill. It prevents fertilization, just like any other birth control pill. In fact, it IS a standard birth control pill, just in a higher dose.

              • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

                Does it prevent fertilization or implantation? Isn’t it possible that the egg would be fertilized at some point after sex and before taking Plan B and it would simply prevent the zygote from making it’s way through the Fallopian tube to the uterus?

                • AuntieMaim says:

                  Emergency contraception primarily prevents ovulation, and likely fertilization to some extent. They *may* also prevent implantation of a fertilized egg, but this is debated (see the studies summarized at It is thought that they have no effect on an implanted blastocyst. As the rate of EC’s effectiveness is similar to the rate at which it prevents ovulation, it’s likely that this is the primary, and maybe the only, way it works.

        • Astrid says:

          They call it Plan B because your plan A (not having sex, using protection, remembering to take the pill, using a condom that doesn’t break) failed. These things happen so you always need a plan B. It is a backup contraceptive. It’s responsible to have a plan B, that’s why they call it that.

        • Randell says:

          Maybe they should name it, “next time put it in the other hole”

    • LightningUsagi says:

      Some states do not require a prescription any longer. You just have to ask at the pharmacy, show your ID, and sign a form.

      • ageekymom says:

        Which states still require a prescription?

        • LightningUsagi says:

          Sorry, my mistake. I was thinking it was a state’s decision to make. After doing some reading, I see that it’s non-prescription in all states.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      The “morning after” pill is an OTC product. I think recently an emergency contraceptive drug that can be taken up to 7 days after was also desginated OTC.

    • thisisnotkathy says:

      You only need a prescription if you are 16 or younger, which seems quite silly. You need to take these within 72hrs so you don’t have a lot of time to get to the doctor and for some, the cost of a doctor’s visit on top of $50ish Plan B is prohibitive.

      • backinpgh says:

        The better way to go is to head to Planned Parenthood, it’s usually free for under 18 then you can buy the EC there.

      • jibo says:

        I’m not saying I agree with it, but it’s so that someone is being made aware that someone who is (to the medical community) too young to be having sex is having sex and possibly having it unprotected. Plus there’s the fact that the younger you are the less likely the sex is to be consensual and it can help bring non consensual sex to someone’s attention.

        • halfcuban says:

          What ass did you pull that statistic from? I am not aware that there is a significantly larger number of sexual assault and rape victims amongst 16 year olds and younger. Now we could get into the issue of consent when someone is younger woman versus an older man, power dynamics in a relationship, etc etc. but thats not what you’re getting at.

        • vaguely says:

          There are a lot of inaccurate things about your statement, but what I’ll focus on is that emergency contraceptives as well as preventive contraceptives should be available over the counter to anyone of any gender or sexuality. More often than not they are kept out of reach or available only after the girl must sacrifice her dignity on the altar of sexism and shame.

          And the idea that the younger you are the more likely the sex isn’t consensual… I have no idea where this statistic is coming from. :|

          • jibo says:

            Sex with someone under the age of consent is non consensual sex, even if both people are of the same age according to the law. In most states the age of consent is higher than 16. hth

            Your statement of “sacrificing her dignity on an alter of sexism and shame” could use some citation, however.

            • maztec says:

              Jibo – You are mixing up the general definition of “consent” and the definition of “legal consent”. These are two different things.

              Legal consent is an assumption based upon the mental capacity and maturity of a human being that we impute upon children. That does not meant they did not “consent” within the normal meaning of the word to sex. What it means is that their “consent” may be indistinguishable from “consent” as a result of “coercion”. Thus, as a society, in order to protect our children, we have created a legal assumption that humans under a certain age (as young as 12 in some places, as old as 28 in others, often differing based on gender. This is worldwide, not just in the U.S.) cannot “legally consent” to sex with someone who is not within a certain age range of that person.

              For example, some states have decided that it is legal consent in the following scenarios:
              youngest is 16-18yo, oldest w/in 48 months of youngest’s age
              youngest is 14-15yo, oldest w/in 24 months of youngest’s age
              youngest is 13yo, oldest w/in 12 months of youngest’s age
              youngest is 12yo or younger, impossible to have legal consent.

              The idea is we do not want to send an 18yo to prison and give him a record as a sex offender for having sex with his 16yo girlfriend before he goes off to college. Furthermore, we do not want to have two 13yo fooling around with each other and discovering their bodies to be labeled as child sex offenders.

              So, while you may be able to have a consensual sexual relationship with a very mature 14 year old, when you are a 60 year old man, our society assumes that there must be some form of coercion and thus there is no legal consent.

              Hope that helps clarify this discussion. Just remember: Consent does not always equal Legal Consent.

        • goodfellow_puck says:

          I….WHAT? Sources, please.

        • Wowbagger.the.Infinitely.Prolonged says:

          There have been plenty of responses already to how fascinatingly wrong you are here, but I do have one thing to add.

          Are you seriously suggesting that being required to go in to the doctor (within a very few DAYS of having sex) to get a script, to pay about $50 for a medication is a reasonable process that provides real safeguards to our poor innocent teenagers?

          A 16 year old is, in many cases, all too likely to ‘take their chances’ rather than have to confront (probably) their parents, a doctor, and a pharmacist. I hope it’s as easy to get an older friend to pick up a plan B from the pharmacy as it is to get one to buy beer or smokes.

          I remember being 16, and it wasn’t the run-around or a conversation with a medical professional I needed when I was trying to be responsible then, either.

        • jibo says:

          Man, I can’t believe how many of you are unaware of the fact that someone who is under the age of consent can’t consent to sex. That’s like basic law.

          • fs2k2isfun says:

            Can’t legally consent to sex though. Which is all that matters in the eyes of the law.

    • Tim says:

      You don’t, but the pharmacy does need to keep it behind the counter and you have to ask a pharmacist. I’m not sure if they can/should ID you or something, though.

    • MrsLopsided says:

      I believe it’s like buying Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed). Anyone can buy it but it’s behind the counter and they need ID. They don’t ask who will be using it.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        They don’t ask but isn’t it implied that it’s for the purchaser when it comes to legal limits? As I understand it, I can’t buy twice the monthly limit and claim half is for my wife.

    • janeslogin says:

      You presume wrongly.

  3. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    It would never had occured to me that a man couldn’t purchase these products on his own.

    Glad to see logic and the rule of law (or corporate policy) prevailed.

    • KyleOrton says:

      I’m not justifying anything, but I would imagine the concern would be that a man coming in without the woman might give it to her without her knowledge or consent.

      • Etoiles says:

        It’s probably more that they’re concerned about a 17-year-old guy (or worse, a 27-year-old guy) coming in to get it for his 15-year-old girlfriend.

        • shepd says:

          How about a widowed dad getting it for his daughter?

        • goodfellow_puck says:

          If you are concerned about statutory rape, then that is what we have actual police for. Pharmacies are NO PLACE for moral judgments and strangers asking about your business. Not every man buying these things are rapists and it’s insulting that a pharmacist would make them feel like one.

      • tcp100 says:

        Again a misunderstanding. Plan B is not a single pill; it’s a two high-dose birth control pills that need to be taken on a certain schedule. Whereas I imagine it’s possible that such a thing might happen (giving it without knowledge), I’d guess it’s rather unlikely.

        And again, why does there always seem to be the assumption that all men who happen to have sex are villianous and up to oppress women? As a one-time user of EC (and this was back in the 90s), I have life experience saying that accidents happen, and it makes perfect sense to allow men to buy it – as I had to – since my girlfriend at the time had no money or insurance.

  4. Mecharine says:

    Wow, this reminds of Iran and Saudi Arabia inverted.

    • RevancheRM says:

      American Taliban, baby! Believe in what we believe or we’ll bring Hell to Earth today.

  5. bennilynn says:

    Seems a little hinky to me, to be honest.

    The drug isn’t something a man would ever take. What if a 30 year old guy is buying it for his 13 year old victim? I’m sorry, but given that this is a drug and it’s intended for use only by adult women, I think the woman in question should be present, if for no other reason that the pharmacist might need to give specific info regarding the drug.

    This isn’t like buying aspirin or something.

    • NarcolepticGirl says:

      I think men shouldn’t be allowed to buy tampons, either. I believe many of them are buying them for their 13 year old victims they chain in their basements.

      • NarcolepticGirl says:

        I also believe that men shouldn’t be allowed to buy condoms, either. They could be using them to rape children.

        • denros says:

          OR make balloon animals with them, to entice them into the back of their windowless vans.

          The horror.

      • bsh0544 says:

        I was going to agree until I got to the second part of your statement.

      • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

        I was always taught that the truest sign of love is when a man will buy feminine hygeine products for you.

        • NarcolepticGirl says:

          Yeah, I thought that when I was younger. Now I think any man that doesn’t is just an idiot.

    • Thyme for an edit button says:

      How is the pharmacist going to ensure that the “woman in question” is the one who is actually going to take the drug?

      I don’t think the most extreme cases should be used to determine how people can access this drug.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      You can’t police drugs for how they “might” be taken, because all drugs can be abused. Plan B has been thoroughly tested and the FDA agrees it is a product safe for OTC consumption. They require you to be over 18 to purchase, which means only a legal adult can make the decision on why to use it.

      That 30-year-old man could just as easily be buying it for his 30-year-old girlfriend who is either too embarrassed to get it herself, or perhaps feels his the man forgot to put on a condom it’s his responsibility to buy the Plan B.

      • nova3930 says:

        Which in an of itself is really odd. Plan B is basically just a higher dosage form of normal birth control. You can get Plan B OTC but have to have a prescription for regular birth control.

        Makes no sense to me that the stronger dose is OTC but the weaker is prescription…

        • veritybrown says:

          Yes, that’s the only odd thing I see in all of this. The Pill requires a prescription; Plan B doesn’t. Maybe the Pill should be sold OTC?

          BTW, I’ve taken this stuff once (by prescription), when my husband and I had a condom accident at what would have been a *very* bad time for me to get pregnant, and I pity anyone who has to take it. I felt *hideous* from the hormone roller-coaster ride. Anyone who would use this stuff on a regular basis is a frickin MASOCHIST.

          • mattarse says:

            I think the difference is in the frequency you are taking it – you take the pill daily but the plan b only rarely (one assumes). Birth control dosage I think needs to be monitored slightly over time because of the possibility of side effects that are only noticeable after you have been taking it for a long period.

            • tcp100 says:

              This exactly.

              EC is meant to be a quick one time thing. It’s also way too expensive to be used in lieu of standard birth control, so the potential of long-term use without a doctor’s supervision (why the regular pill is not OTC) is unlikely.

            • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

              true enough. i’ve had to change pill dosages a few times. when i was a teenager i was taking one that gave me blood clots in my legs and made my vision blurry. i had to be switched to a different brand/strength and without a doctor i wouldn’t have known what dosage to change to

          • Thyme for an edit button says:

            I definitely think the Pill should be OTC. I think it’s ridiculous that it isn’t.

            • btrthnnothing says:

              It’s not OTC because there’s so many different brands with their own amount of hormone that it’s better that a doctor helps you decide which is best for your body and warn you of how you might react to it.

              Consider Yaz vs. Ortho Tricyclen, they both prevent pregnancy but they both have different side effects on one’s body.

              Anyways, getting a prescription is relatively easy (at least where I live). You can have your own doctor/gynecologist write it on a regular check-up or you can go to a Planned Parenthood.

              • Thyme for an edit button says:

                Yeah, so easy that Planned Parenthood handed me 4 samples packs of what they had. We had no discussion of what was “best for me.” I then read and understood the pamphlet that came with the pills.

                I got a regular doctor and we had no discussion of what was “best”. She just wrote me script for what I have already been using.

                OTC meds have plenty of dangers and side effects. Consumers can read the information that comes with the pills and self-screen. They can also choose to talk to their doctor or a pharmacist about whether OTC pills are the best choice, or forgo those things.

                I don’t buy there are “too many choices” for people to be able to figure it out.

          • halfcuban says:

            It wouldn’t be the same dosage. I can’t remember off hand, but in some cases Plan B can be up to the equivalent of 12 or so other hormonal contraceptives. Its loaded so much in order to ensure rapid delivery and to inhibit pregnancy.

          • NarcolepticGirl says:

            That sucks.
            I took and and didn’t have any side effects at all.

    • thejaunt00 says:

      Oh please. The ‘what if’ scenario is never a good enough reason to refuse something to the majority. All Walgreens need to follow corporate policy, no matter what the pharmacist’s personal feelings happen to be.

      • dolemite says:

        What if…the man had a secret lab in his basement, and he was genetically impregnating 20 teen girls with animal/man hybrids. He uses advanced technology to determine of the embryo meets the criteria he selects within 24 hours of his fertilization. His goal is to create the perfect japanese cat girl. Human, but with the feline characteristics of ears, tail and eyes. I think it’s pretty ambiguous if it is wrong for him to buy batches of the morning after pill, so it’s probably better if only women buy it, and after they buy it, they become nuns.

        • NarcolepticGirl says:


          What’s sad is that a nerdy pal of mine pretty much “wrote a book” about something similiar.
          It wasn’t very good.

        • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

          There’s an idea. I want to make a Japanese cat girl.

    • Niphil says:

      Hasn’t anyone ever bought you medicine from the pharmacy? Haven’t you gone out and gotten something when someone else couldn’t?

    • slim150 says:

      you could say that about any object for any purpose though.

      why is that man buying all that twine, who is he going to strangle??

    • LightningUsagi says:

      Some women may be too embarrassed to buy it, especially in very conservative areas. I’ve only had to buy it once, and I’m not one to really care what anyone thinks, but it was a little offputting even to me. I don’t see any reason why a responsible man wouldn’t step in and do the dirty work for a woman they care about.

      Also, most (if not all) pharmacies include an instruction sheet with medication, so I don’t think having to receive instructions would be an issue.

    • opticnrv says:

      I understand what you’re saying, but I think the real question is do we prohibit the purchase of any other drug based on a person’s gender? If so, prohibiting distribution should be open to consideration. If not, I suggest the decision to prohibit distribution is being influenced by the whole pro-life/pro-choice issue, and the debate should acknowledge that fact openly rather than take the passive aggressive route.

      • mattarse says:

        Exactly – should a woman not be allowed to pick u viagra (were it to not need a prescription)

      • tz says:

        There have been more than a few cases of men spiking their girlfriend’s food and/or drink with RU-486 or other compounds because they didn’t want the child (or to pay support).

        Maybe they could do a special – GHB plus Plan B for a discount.

        And if the pregnancy isn’t ended, can the guy sue to have PlanB’s manufacturers be responsible for his child support payments? (or for that matter sue the Mother for fraud if she said she was contracepting but actually wasn’t)..

        We haven’t had the proper argument as a society over “choice”, merely shouting matches.

        Whose choices, and who is responsible for the consequences?

        • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

          Wow, assumption much?

          1) Not an abortion pill – if the girl is already pregnant, it has no effect so your argument of “if it doesn’t work” is stupid and inflammatory

          2) If people are really spiking their girlfriend’s drinks with the stuff, they’re cowards. Considering the available window in which to take the stuff and it to be effective, I seriously doubt they’d fuck a girl and then spike her drink. Its much more likely that the girl would freak out and WANT the pill rather then the man having to force her to take it. Again, not an abortion pill.

    • GirlCat says:

      It’s profiling. A 25-year-old woman buying it for her 16-year-old sister would never be questioned. The pharmacist would assume she’s buying it for herself.

    • Tim says:

      Funny, that’s the same argument that conservatives have used in arguing for all kinds of restrictions on EC availability. Since God said sex is only for making babies, they’d probably rather the 13-year-old victim have the baby and marry her rapist.

      • Draygonia says:

        Now now, TCama, I think we should keep politics out of it. I am not conservative, but if liberals keep taking jabs at them, it makes em look bad. Personally, I wonder why consumerist readers, being more intelligent than most sites, would have a political preference since we all know politics is a bunch of BS.

        • incident_man says:

          How is it “politics” when the commenter is making a point of fact. You don’t see Barney Frank, Dick Durbin, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, James Carville, et al getting in a twist about someone being able to buy contraceptives, do you?

    • Moniker says:

      Actually it is like buying aspirin. They’re both OTC.

      There’s no downside to allowing men to buy it. Other than your hypothetical scare tactic rape story.

      • NotEd says:

        Actually asprin does not require you to go the a pharmacist. I’d say a closer analogy is it is like Pseudoephedrine, which does not require a perscription, but does require your ID be checked and you sign for, due to federal controls.
        Oh, I do miss my Sudafed.

    • kmw2 says:

      Well, if a 25 year old man is buying it for his 13 year old victim, then she won’t get pregnant. However, that doesn’t happen. Generally speaking, rapists don’t care about the reproductive health or contraceptive arrangements of their victims. What is a far more likely scenario is that a boyfriend would be buying it for his girlfriend, a husband for his wife, a guy for his female friend, a father for his daughter, or a brother for his sister. So, really. Not real likely at all.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      What if a 30 year old guy is buying it for his 13 year old victim?

      Are you seriously suggesting that it is preferable that a 13 year old rape victim get impregnated by her rapist?

      • maztec says:

        The following response is not my personal opinion nor does it reflect my beliefs or values. It is merely sharing what another has said.


        Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle’s advice is that a thirteen year old rape victim who is now pregnant should make “lemons out of lemonade” and have the child.

        “. . . I have been in the situation of counseling young girls, not 13 but 15, who have had very at risk, difficult pregnancies. And my counsel was to look for some alternatives, which they did. And they found that they had made what was really a lemon situation into lemonade.”

        So, at least some people believe what you suggested, which scares me.

    • backinpgh says:

      In that case, only men should be able to purchase condoms. Because what if women who buy them are using them to rape 13 year old boys??!?!!

      Which of course is also totally ridiculous.

    • The_IT_Crone says:

      So men shouldn’t buy tampons, either?

    • BDSanta2001 says:

      Obvious troll is obvious.

    • NickelMD says:

      What about women who want their privacy protected who have partners that are supportive? What about straight men who would like to be prepared in the event a female partner needs post-coital contraception? What about transgender men?

      By that same reasoning women shouldn’t be able to purchase male condoms.

  6. kosmo @ The Soap Boxers says:

    Uh, unless I’m missing something, this does NOT track with FDA guidelines.

    “7b. Can men purchase Plan B? (added 12/14/2006)
    Yes. Plan B OTC is approved to allow OTC availability of Plan B for consumers 18 years and older. Plan B remains available by prescription only for women 17 years and younger.”

    So Walgreens should only be selling the OTC med for guys 18 or older, not 17 or older.

    I see a business opportunity for an enterprising high school kid. He could stock up on these and sell to those who need them and are either too young to buy or don’t want to be seen buying them.

  7. Dallas_shopper says:

    I’ve never had any problems buying any contraception of any kind, thankfully!

  8. femiwhat says:

    I only had to do this once, and once was enough for me. I was worried about being hassled, and I made my husband go with me to the pharmacy to pick it up. I was embarrassed to have to ask for it, but all I had to do was show my driver’s license and pay, and we were done.

    Now I have an IUD and there will be no more slip-ups related to hating condoms. Plan B made me feel nauseated all day and it was expensive… IUD all the way.

  9. DragonThermo says:

    I didn’t know men could become pregnant!?

    However, if you’re going to get a girl knocked up, you should at least be a gentleman and pay for her abortion pills.

    • femiwhat says:

      Plan B prevents pregnancy. It doesn’t terminate pregnancy–that’s why you have to take it as soon as possible if you want the highest probability that it works.

      • Limewater says:

        The definition of “pregnancy” they use to make that claim doesn’t consider conception to the the beginning of pregnancy. You can have an embryo growing and floating around inside of you for days, but “oh, you’re not pregnant yet!” That’s pretty darn misleading.

        • evnmorlo says:

          Abortions are legal anyway, so it really doesn’t matter. Even less if you oppose plan A.

        • redbess says:

          Not really, considering how often the female body spontaneously aborts implanted embryos, or how often those fertilized eggs just don’t implant at all.

          • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

            I don’t think this is a right or wrong kind of question. It’s more of a philosophical question and people aren’t going to agree on it.

            Some believe there is a certain divinity associated with fertility and believe life starts at conception. Some think life doesn’t start until the embryo implants itself in the uterus. Some think life starts after the first trimester. Some think it doesn’t start until birth and some believe a baby isn’t a living member until s/he reaches adolescence (historically, this widely believed due to high infant mortality).

            • Rectilinear Propagation says:

              It’s more of a philosophical question

              If we were just talking about when life begins I wouldn’t argue with you but in the context of a discussion about medication it is medical question.

              • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

                I think it is a fairly complicated question.

                It’s not technically an abortion because (IRC), an abortion is the removal of an embryo from the uterus. If the egg hasn’t implanted yet, then Plan B isn’t an abortion but it’s the disposal of an unimplanted embryo.

                Medically, I’m not entirely sure when pregnancy officially starts — if it’s conception or if implantation is the official start date. All of the math our obstetrician used during our prenatal care seemed to go back to conception or +/- a couple of days. If implantation is the official start date, then Plan B doesn’t technically terminate a pregnancy.

                • femiwhat says:

                  You aren’t pregnant until a fertilized egg has implanted in your uterine lining. It’s possible for eggs to be fertilized and never actually manage to implant, and it can take days before fertilization takes place, and then longer before implantation takes place. If you wouldn’t tell someone who had sex that they were actually possibly temporarily pregnant based on the potential of a fertilized egg existing at some point in time, you can’t call Plan B an abortion pill.

                  • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

                    you can’t call Plan B an abortion pill.

                    I never did; however, if someone believes conception is the creation of life then things get more complicated.

          • Limewater says:

            That doesn’t make it less misleading at all. Lots of women miscarry during the first couple of months of pregnancy. I wouldn’t go up to one of them and try to tell them that they were never really pregnant in the first place.

        • Rectilinear Propagation says:

          It is not at all misleading to use the medical/scientific definition of pregnancy when talking about medication.

          • Limewater says:

            From my admittedly limited reading, this is not really an entirely firmly established definition within the medical community. The American Heritage Stedman’s Medical dictionary seems to claim that pregnancy starts at conception. I’m not a doctor, though.

        • Randell says:

          You are NOT pregnant just because a fertilized egg is floating inside you. If you do not understand that basic of biology, then you really should be sterilized to avoid reproduction of your ignorance.

          • Limewater says:

            You seem very angry, Randell. I hope that the rest of your day goes well.
            I wrote what I did because a lot of people are under the impression that pregnancy begins at conception. About half of women polled in 2004 believed that pregnancy began at fertilization. These women need to know that, while Plan B may prevent pregnancy, it makes that claim based upon a definition of pregnancy that they do not share. I know you think that they should all be sterilized, but I care about them. That is why I consider the claim to be misleading.

            • AuntieMaim says:

              I agree that women should receive complete information about any birth control method they choose. However, it is not a tricky definition of pregnancy that allows doctors and pharmacists to say the EC works by preventing pregnancy. It is a common misconception that EC primarily works by preventing implantation. The primary way that EC works is by preventing ovulation and secondarily by thickening cervical mucus to disfavor fertilization. According to Joe DeCook, an OB/GYN who has served as Vice President of the Amer Assoc of Pro-Life OB/GYNs, “The post-fertilization effect was purely a speculation that became truth by repetition” ( While it is theorized that EC may also prevent implantation of a fertilized egg, the evidence for this is still debated: early studies suggested it did prevent implantation, while more recent animal studies indicate the opposite (Wikipedia’s page on EC has a nice summary and citations of the research on both sides). Yes, women absolutely should be informed about the possibility so they can factor it into their decision, but I don’t believe the significance of it should be exaggerated.

              • Limewater says:

                That article is not about Emergency Contraception/Plan B. It’s about the birth control pill. But you’re right that it’s not quite cut-and-dry that EC prevents implantation. But it’s still an “I don’t know” situation– not a “definitely no” situation. A woman should be aware of that before choosing to take the pill.

                • AuntieMaim says:

                  No, I do totally agree with you that women should be fully informed. :)

                • AuntieMaim says:

                  Oh, and sorry I was unclear on my citation. The Prevention article was being cited only for the doctor’s quote. The rest of the information I’ve picked up elsewhere.

    • Snockered says:

      plan b is not an abortion pill
      plan b is not an abortion pill
      plan b is not an abortion pill
      plan b is not an abortion pill

      get it yet?

      • TJ says:

        Exactly. It works by ensuring that, if an egg was fertilized, it is not able to implant itself in the uterus and begin to grow. I could go into a sex-ed anatomy lesson if necessary to explain further, but I doubt most Consumerist readers need anything like that.

        Just know that you shouldn’t feel any more guilt from using Plan B than you do for using a condom, or spermicide. Well, except for the fact that it’s expensive, and you should have thought ahead and used a cheaper birth control method. That’s ok to feel guilty about.

        FWIW, I’ve bought Plan B for my wife twice. I felt a little weird buying it the first time, in the same way I felt a little weird the first time I legally bought alcohol in a liquor store.

        • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

          I think the argument that religious people make is that life begins at conception and once the egg is fertilized, anything that stops it is considered an abortion. The difference between this and other methods of birth control, is that the other methods block fertilization, while Plan B (potentially) destroys a fertilized egg.

          • consumerfan says:

            Except that if I’m reading the previous comment correctly, Plan B prevents the fertilized egg from being “planted”. It doesn’t destroy the egg. It causes luteolysis which happens in every menstrual cycle.

            • lincolnparadox says:

              The dogma of some religions doesn’t even allow for condom use. Or use of the IUD or birth control pills. Any obstruction to conception is taboo.

          • Ovular says:

            No, the primary effect of the morning after pill is to prevent ovulation. There is only a theoretical possibility of interfering with implantation, and it is exactly the same possibility as with the regular birth control pill.

        • elburto says:

          It doesn’t prevent implantation actually, it merely prevents/delays ovulation.

    • Marshmelly says:

      not sure if you were just kidding, but they’re not “abortion” pills.

    • Tim says:

      As the others have said, yeah, not an abortion pill.

      Furthermore, should men be banned from buying tampons? Midol? What about women’s clothes? Hey, if he’s a man, he can’t use it, so why should he be allowed to buy it?

    • uberbitter says:

      Please stop feeding the troll.

    • grapedog says:

      actually, these pills don’t kill babies.

  10. ttw1 says:

    Texas and Mississippi, who’d a thunk it?

  11. Gman says:

    Is a consult required from the pharmacist?

    “Hi hon, yeah, I didn’t wear a condom last night, but I took a morning after pill this morning so we’re ok”

  12. pantheonoutcast says:

    Thank you, ACLU – for far too many years, male “emergency contraception” meant having to go through the hassle of changing one’s phone number!


  13. NarcolepticGirl says:

    I’ve taken Plan B.
    I went to CVS, asked for it, paid $15-20. Done.

    Now that I live in Tennessee (God’s Land), I would be a little more nervous about purchasing it and would probably ask my boyfriend to go in and buy it instead.

    • chatterboxwriting says:

      This is gonna be a stupid question, but where do they keep the condoms in TN stores? I went on vacation there last fall and wanted to buy some condoms in the store. I looked all around the pharmacy, in the personal hygiene aisle, the feminine products aisle, etc. I could not find them ANYWHERE. I’m going there again in September, so I guess I better pack my own just in case.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        It varies by the store. Condoms are a very high theft item, so they’re often locked up.

        • NarcolepticGirl says:

          yeah. Sometimes they are behind the register.

          They’re in the regular areas in Walmart, Target, Walgreens, though.
          At least, in East Tennessee they are.

          • Dalsnsetters says:

            If you tell me you are in Gatlinburg I’m going to ask when I can visit you! (Me loves me a week in Gatlinburg!)

  14. aloria says:

    Back when Plan B was prescription only, I was referred to another pharmacy because the pharmacist there wouldn’t fill it. I guess I should have kicked up more of a fuss, but I was already pretty stressed out and embarrassed about the whole thing and just wanted to get my pill.

    • ARP says:

      Some states have laws that say that a pharmacist doesn’t have to fil a presciption if they don’t want to. So, if you’re a scientologist, you don’t have to dispense any Xanax, zoloft, prozac, etc. Basically, you don’t have to do your job.

      • tcp100 says:

        Which, in my mind, should preclude you from being a pharmacist at a public-serviing enterprises, since pharmacists are licensed by the state.

        If pharmacists can decide to not dispense medically-necessary drugs at will due to personal beliefs, what’s stopping them from replacing a HIV patient’s Combivir with Echinacea, because either A) they’re HIV deniers (they exist) or B) believe that HIV is punishment from God for being The Gay?

        If that’s the case, I think pharmacists should literally wear their religion on their sleeves – so I make sure I know to never patronize the Scientologist pharmacist who refuses to give out antidepressants to depressed people, even when I’m just buying Sudafed. Shouldn’t it go both ways?

        Ridiculous. This country has a long way to go in a lot of places.

      • shepd says:

        If the pharmacy doesn’t explain the requirements of the job upfront, and ask the person to sign that they are able to do those things without breaking religious covenant, they get the employee they deserve.

        Just like getting someone who does on call support but refuses to do their job for 4 hours a week because they’re at church. If you didn’t have it explained and signed before you took the job, your employer is teh dumb.

        • Dondegroovily says:

          There’s a huge difference between denying someone an emergency medication and a minor scheduling consideration.

  15. YukonSid says:

    I’ve actually run into this problem in Houston (where I now live) before.

    I’ve got health insurance, an FSA, and a well-paying job. My 22-yr old girlfriend is a student, however. Being paranoid, we like to keep a Plan B pill in the house in case a condom breaks or something…

    I find it quite annoying that I have to bring her into the pharmacy with me each and every time I want to replace an expired pill. It’s annoying, arguable illegal, and I’m glad to see things change.

    @osiris73 : If you’re 18 or older, they don’t require a doctor’s prescription.

    @bennilyn : Well, hopefully I’m a “non-hinky” example for you. And arguable, letting said hypothetical 13-yr old victim get pregnant doesn’t really help the victim at all, nor does it stop further instances of the crime.

  16. chaesar says:

    if only someone would tell Beavis that a guy can’t get himself pregnant

  17. brinks says:

    Insurance at my previous job didn’t cover traditional birth control pills, but it covered Plan B. It cost me $5. I hoped I’d never need it again, but the insurance company sure seemed to encourage it.

    • Mike says:

      The desire to prevent pregnancy is a pre-existing condition; obviously it won’t be covered. Makes perfect sense to me. And by “perfect sense” I mean no sense.

      You got to love the private health insurance industry.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      That seems odd. What type of policy was it and who was it through?

      If a plan covers prescriptions (which is becoming increasingly rare), then it typically covers birth control. It seems odd that one type would be covered and another wouldn’t. If a plan is so crappy that it doesn’t cover prescriptions, then it probably wouldn’t cover prenatal care or childbirth either.

      • brinks says:

        I won’t bash the insurance company itself; I had insurance through the same place at another job and it was excellent. I think the place I worked for at the time just gave us the crappiest version.

        They didn’t cover ANY acid reflux medication, and the cough medicine I needed when I had bronchitis wasn’t covered. But yeah…randomly, Plan B was. That was about all I was ever able to use it for.

  18. t0ph says:

    I had to show ID when I got it for my girlfriend. No biggie. However, the first place that I called, the woman was nasty and obstinate, like she didn’t want to sell it to me.

  19. Traveshamockery says:

    I wonder when the ACLU will start standing up for the rights of the unborn. They sure are selective about whose liberties they protect.

    • npage148 says:

      If the embryo you “daved” turned out to be gay would you still love it?

    • pop top says:

      You sound like you don’t have a uterus.

    • Moniker says:

      The ACLU supports the rights of the unborn to buy plan B. The logistics however are left up to you.

    • dolemite says:

      As it is often said to children: “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.” In this case, we are skipping the first step.

    • ARP says:

      Not really-

      They defended Rush Limbaugh from having his medical records disclosed.
      They’re suing so that there’s a better process for the “no fly list.”
      They often sue for persons to be able to to wear crosses, headscarves, etc. at school
      But they’re also big players in separation of church and state cases.
      They’re lobbying for a more sane drug policy.
      They considering suing to allow reporters access to public areas near the BP spill
      They’re opposed to tourture.

      So they’re “liberal” in the sense that they tend to side on personal liberty and lack of government intrusion in our private lives. Of course, since they support gay marriage, separation of church and state, habeas corpus, and are opposed to tourture, etc. they’re labeled as a lefty organization. They’re actually more conservative than most conservatives.

    • pantheonoutcast says:

      How can something that doesn’t exist have rights?

      I have this novel I need to copyright. Well, it’s not actually a novel. It’s a copy of Microsoft Word and a laptop. But there’s a very good chance it will be a novel someday.

    • Randell says:

      “Rights” of the unborn? Please show me where those rights exist? Can an unborn be claimed on a persons taxes? Can an unborn use the date the sperm hit the egg as their birthday when they want to vote at 18 or drink at 21?
      There are not rights for unborn, because THEY ARE UNBORN. By definition they are NOT born yet, therefore do not have rights. This is not that hard to understand if you just use your brain a little.

    • The_IT_Crone says:

      Plab B PREVENTS pregnancy. There is no “unborn” to be concerned about.

    • ARP says:

      So are you saying that anytime a fertlized egg does not implant, that the women is a potential murderer? What if she’s in poor health and that contributed to the lack of implantation? Shouldn’t we charge her with child abuse?

      Remember, medically, these people are not pregnant yet. If you want to get religious fundamentalist, I have a rabbit hole I’m happy to send you down.

    • tcp100 says:

      Maybe when people get more educated about how things actually work, instead of reacting in a kneejerk manner via a political cliche?

    • tcp100 says:

      Plan B is NOT AN ABORTION PILL. It prevents FERTILIZATION, just like ANY other birth control pill. I know the whole “science” thing is a little out of the zone for certain types, but that’s the fact, Jack.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        It’s not an abortion because it doesn’t remove the embryo from the uterus.

        From what I understand, it doesn’t prevent fertilization. It prevents the fertilized egg from making its way to the uterus. Fertilization happens when the sperm fuses with the egg. This could potentially happen prior to taking the drug.

      • Limewater says:

        This is why I was saying earlier that the statements about Plan B are misleading. People hear that it prevents pregnancy and then assume that it prevents fertilization. As I understand it, it is capable of preventing fertilization, but generally works by preventing the implantation of the fertilized embryo.

  20. zannadanna says:

    The pharmacist nearest my college had a reputation for refusing to fill prescriptions. So my housemates and I collectively purchased half a dozen Plan B’s from a pharmacy in Canada. Cheaper, no questions, no panic.

  21. ARP says:

    Don’t some states have a law that says if the pharmacist is a fundie, he/she can refuse to dispense certain medications he/she doesn’t agree with?

    I know in Illinois, Rod Blagojevich (go ahead and laugh) signed an Executive Order saying that pharmacists must fill prescriptions, period.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      Yes, unfortunately some states feel that if you have a religious objection to doing your job you should have a legal right to just sit around not doing it rather than getting a job you don’t have objections to.

      It’d be like a strict Jewish or Muslim person getting a job at a generic deli and then refusing to handle any of the pork for religious reasons.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        It seems like a Christian Scientist who works as a pharmacist would make a killing. He wouldn’t have to do anything.

  22. npage148 says:

    I’m a Pharmacist that works for a chain pharmacy and floats around at different stores to fill holes. If I find that a pharmacist doesn’t/refuses to stock plan B at a particular store I make sure to order them 10 boxes to be delivered the next business day. It’s my little way of saying stop being a close minded retard and take of the ladies

    • LSAX says:

      I love you.

    • erinpac says:

      Do you find those stores have less the next time you’re there? Or do the 10 boxes sit there un-dispensed?

      • npage148 says:

        I usually find them either missing (sold or returned?? not sure) or hidden somewhere under a box like it’s a dirty magazine that can’t see the light of day. If I find them hidden, I trot them out and make a space for them someplace very prominent. While it’s about what is right, annoying a fundie always makes me gitty

    • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

      Thank you! That’s awesome.

    • Garbanzo says:

      Go, you!

  23. ChemicalFyre says:

    Or, you know, a male figure purchasing on behalf of his hysterical counterpart. It could happen.

  24. adam395 says:

    My process was hassle-free. I went to the local CVS in Medford, MA, and they didn’t even bat an eye. The lady at the counter was helpful in directing me to where they kept them, handed it over no problem, and I was out in under 4 minutes. What I thought was going to be an embarrassing and worrisome process was surprisingly pleasant.

  25. erinpac says:

    Women buy condoms, men buy tampons…
    they wouldn’t glance twice at a woman picking some little blue pills.
    So this shouldn’t be THAT surprising.

  26. fubar784 says:

    I’m a male pharmacist (or, eh, druggist for those of you over 70) and i work for said company. I sell plan-b to guys all the time. I just wanted to state that whatever employee was refusing to sell to guys, was just being a dick and trying to push his moral objections onto other. Company policy is to sell to anyone over 17 (political BS requires you to be over 17 to purchase it without an Rx

  27. gnimsh says:

    I went by myself to Walgreens (in St. Paul, MN) to purchase this for a previous girlfriend, and had no troubles. I whipped out the check card, paid, and was done. Nothing was said beyond the usual pleasantries.

  28. chulo_allen says:

    “Have you ever purchased emergency contraceptives? What road blocks stopped you from getting the product?”

    No, because I dont have a uterus

  29. Draw2much says:

    I lol’ed at this for a bit because I thought there was some sort of new birth control method for men I didn’t know about when I first read it. I was like “Wah?! I thought guys were pretty much limited to condoms?!”

    Ah well… it’d be nice if they could figure out a “pill” for a guy! Take the pressure off the ladies. :3

  30. Nic715 says:

    Last Easter I went into CVS to purchase Plan B after an “unfortunate incident” …the woman behind the counter tried to refuse….going on and on about how it was Easter and it wasn’t right to kill an unborn child on Easter…then glanced at my left hand and says “It figures you aren’t married either!” I was LIVID!! I snapped at her that she was there to do her job and provide a service as outlined by state and federal health rules, that I had an incident and was taking a precautionary measure and if she wanted me to call the state health board, I’d be more than happy…I made sure to include her name from her name tag when saying I’d call…she quickly changed her tone and sold me the product.

    Awful experience that I hope I never have to repeat…..I make sure I always have one on hand just in case now.

  31. bugpaste says:

    Boyfriend and I had an accident a little while back. We went to Planned Parenthood. I showed my ID, he paid (I didn’t have $25 on me and the receptionist told me it was $50 at the pharmacy). No one questioned our arrangement. I shudder to think of what would happen if we didn’t have a Planned Parenthood nearby. Ours is the only one within an hours’ drive. We do not live in an area known for its liberal tendencies and it’s questionable whether we could have acquired Plan B from a pharmacist.

  32. BDSanta2001 says:

    Obvious troll is Obvious.

  33. Sasha_Pie says:

    My sister needed Plan B on the day of her college graduation, and was terrified that she wouldn’t make it to a pharmacy before closing time or that our mother would insist on accompanying her to said pharmacy and would want to know what she was buying. Luckily, my boyfriend was able to get it from a local pharmacy and give it to me to stuff in her backpack while no one was looking. We called it “Mission Impregnable”.

    The boyf said that the pharmacist did seem a little bit suspicious of him and insisted on explaining to him in detail how it worked and that it shouldn’t be abused. This being NY, I would have been shocked if he had been wholly turned away.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      When I was in high school, my 11th grade health teacher had a saying about people in those situations: “if you aren’t man enough to buy your own prophylactics, then you aren’t man enough to be having sex or potentially to be a father”.

  34. Skeptic says:

    There’s no way the government and/or coporate America should ever have the power to decide for consenting adults what they can or can’t do in terms of interpersonal relations. Some of these comments assume just that, e.g. that if a male wants morning-after pills, it’s for his under-age victim, so therefore pharmacies should refuse to give pills to any male.

    Get a grip, folks, MYOB and stop being such control freaks. The ACLU is right.

  35. farker says:

    So the ACLU is pro-pedophile afterall?

  36. Skeptic says:

    “Are you buying this Viagra so you can have sex with a 13-year old? No? OK, in that case I guess it’s OK to sell it to you.”

    This conversation would never happen. So why is it OK for a pharmacist to demand the details on Plan B before selling it to an adult? Only difference is that the supreme sacred penis is involved in the first case, the church and state-owned uterus in the second.

  37. ptitesirna says:

    This happened to me in Miami, FL.

    My boyfriend went to pick some up at a local pharmacy, and they refused to sell to him unless I was present. He had to come all the way back and pick me up.

    All jokes about the situation aside, the worst thing is that we didn’t–and probably the average person doesn’t–think to question this policy. All you care about at that particular moment is getting what you need.

  38. lincolnparadox says:

    And another story about men spiking women’s drinks with RU486 in 5…4…3…2…

  39. savdavid says:

    So? If I want to buy tampons that would be my right. If a store offers a product, they must sell it to anyone who wants it (unless it is prohibited by law like cigarettes to minors).

  40. FrugalFreak says:

    It would be better to push approval and sell the male birth control pills. A world where men control their destiny sounds great.

  41. Berries_n_Brains_Cereal_is_Zombilicious says:

    I live in Texas and have bought them on two occasions, of course I bought them at CVS, but I never got any hassle because my wife was not with me. I didn’t have to sign anything (nor would I have if asked), or show my ID. Just ask at the pharmacy.

    And the pill “Plan-B” or whatever it’s called as I think there’s a generic one out now (which is the only generic medication I don’t want to chance trying) does not kill anything. It simply prevents fertilization. If you’re pregnant and take the pill, you’re pregnant with a pill inside your stomach. it does nothing once the egg has already been fertilized. The misconception lies in the fact that people mistakenly believe a woman is instantly pregnant as soon as sperm enters them womb when in reality, it usually happens within 24-hours or even up to 3 days later.