Colorado Women Need a Plan A for Plan B

A team report by Colorado Confidential reporters Cara DeGette, Wendy Norris, Kerri Rebresh, Leslie Robinson, and Erin Rosa.

Reproductive health groups scored a hard-fought victory last week when over-the-counter emergency contraception – more commonly known as Plan B – arrived in pharmacies last week.

Following a contentious six year fight by anti-choice and religious groups to dissuade the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) from approving Plan B, it is now available to women age 18 and over without a prescription as an emergency preventive measure against unexpected pregnancy.

Or is it?From Nov. 17-19, Colorado Confidential conducted a non-scientific survey of independent and chain store pharmacies across the state. The results were quite disturbing for women in the southern and eastern regions of the state.

The Guttmacher Institute reports that nearly 93,000 Colorado women become pregnant each year. If national statistics hold true, 50 percent of those pregnancies – approximately 46,500 – are unplanned.

In the face of those figures and the well-known economic and health impacts of unplanned motherhood, Gov. Bill Owens still vetoed legislation sponsored by Betty Boyd (D-Lakewood) that would have given state licensed pharmacists prescribing authority for emergency contraception and issued executive order budgets cuts to family planning agencies.

Accordingly, the Guttmacher Institute ranked Colorado 40th in the nation overall for access to family planning services, reproductive health laws and policies, and public funding.

Read the entire Plan B investigative series:
Plan B FAQ by Andrew Oh-Willeke link
Quest for Plan B in C Springs by Cara DeGette link
Plan B Free Day by Leslie Robinson link
Plan B Going to the Legislature Next Session? by Erin Rosa link

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