Providing emergency contraception at pharmacies is one way to increase access to this safe and effective option for preventing unintended pregnancy.
Expanding women’s access to information and services
When contraceptive methods fail or don’t get used, there is still hope. Emergency contraceptive pills safely and effectively prevent pregnancy when taken within five days or sooner after unprotected sex. But until 1998, Washington State required women to get a prescription from a health care provider. Under this cumbersome requirement, women were often unable to obtain the pills until after the critical time window had passed.
Many other women didn’t even know about the possibility of emergency contraception, and the problem was even greater among populations with a primary language other than English.
PATH has engaged in this important area of health care by developing and launching a pilot program in Washington State that allows pharmacists to provide emergency contraception. We’ve also developed materials to help spread the word about emergency contraception to women from diverse populations. We’re very proud of this groundbreaking work and how it has helped to fill the gaps in health service and health information.
Photo credit: PATH/Jolene Beitz.