Men and Women Get Free Emergency Contraceptive Pills

by Ramonica R. Jones

Eighteen-year-old Lydia Enriquez stopped by the Lufkin Planned Parenthood center Wednesday to pick up the morning after pill. She hopes women will use Emergency Contraceptives wisely instead of taking advantage of them. "I think women are gonna be more responsible about it and use it as a back up plan instead of a daily method, so it can prevent unwanted pregnancy better," Enriquez said.

The clinic is among hundreds of Planned Parenthoods across the country participating in Free E.C. Day. Men and women had to show proof of age to get bags filled with information about Plan B. They also visited a booth inside the center explaining how to use the drug.

Planned Parenthood spokesperson, Michelle Green, said, "It's something that every woman needs in their medicine cabinet. If, by chance, you were to be sexually assaulted, the last thing you want to be concerned with is an unintended pregnancy. So, whether you're assaulted, whether you have unprotected sex, whether you 'oh my gosh, I missed a couple of pills this month', again, this is a back up birth control method."

But, there continues to be mixed opinions about the use of Emergency Contraceptives. Some people don't believe they should be used at all, and certainly not handed out for free. Workers at Planned Parenthood believe many are still confusing these contraceptives with the controversial abortion pill. "Emergency contraception is simply what its name implies - it is emergency contraception," said Green. "It is not to be confused with RU-486, which is the abortion pill. The abortion pill terminates a pregnancy. However, emergency contraception is prevention. It can prevent an unintended pregnancy."

The cost of emergency contraception is $50, but since a prescription is no longer needed, the cost has dropped to about $35 at the Lufkin Planned Parenthood clinic.

Plan B works the same as a high dosage daily birth control pill by stopping ovulation or preventing fertilization. Back in August, the Food and Drug Administration approved offering Emergency Contraceptives over the counter for women over the age of 18, but girls 17 and younger still need a doctor's note to buy the morning after pill.