Background

Emergency contraception (EC) can prevent pregnancy when taken shortly after unprotected sex. Currently there are four FDA-approved products on the market. Three of these products are approved for preventing pregnancy when taken within 72 hours after unprotected sex. One of these products, Plan B One-Step, was approved for over-the-counter sale by the FDA in 2013.

Since the late 1990s, state legislatures have taken different paths to expand access to emergency contraception. First, some states have mandated emergency contraception–related services for women who have been sexually assaulted. Second, some states permitted a woman to obtain the medication without having to obtain a physician’s prescription. Third, one state has limited pharmacists’ ability to refuse to dispense emergency contraception on moral or ethical grounds. Finally, in some states, regulations discourage pharmacists from refusing to fill prescriptions for contraceptives, with one state having gone so far as to require pharmacies that stock contraceptives to dispense all contraceptive methods. At the same time, other states have attempted to restrict access by excluding emergency contraception from state Medicaid family planning eligibility expansions or  contraceptive coverage mandates, or by allowing pharmacists and potentially some pharmacies, to refuse to provide contraceptive services (see Refusing to Provide Medical Services).

Highlights

Restricting Access

 

 

Emergency Contraception Policies

STATE

EXPANDING ACCESS

RESTRICTING ACCESS

 

EMERGENCY ROOMS REQUIRED TO:

PHARMACIST MAY DISPENSE EC WITHOUT PRESCRIPTION UNDER:

MUST FILL VALID PRESCRIPTIONS

STATE LAW EXCLUDES EC FROM:

STATE LAW ALLOWS REFUSAL TO DISPENSE EC BY:

REQUIRES PRESCRIPTION

 

Provide Information About EC

Dispense EC upon Request

Collaborative Practice Agreement

State-Approved Protocol

Pharmacy

Pharmacist

State Family Planning Program

Contraceptive Coverage Mandate

Pharmacist

Pharmacy

16 and Younger

Arizona

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

X

 

Arkansas

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

X

 

California

X

X

X

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

Colorado

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connecticut

X‡​

X‡​

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

District of Columbia

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Florida

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Georgia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

Hawaii

X

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Idaho

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

Illinois

X

 X

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

Maine

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

Massachusetts

X

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minnesota

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mississippi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

X

 

New Hampshire

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Jersey

X

X

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Mexico

X

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

North Carolina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

Ohio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oklahoma

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oregon

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pennsylvania

X

Ψ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South Carolina

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South Dakota

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

Tennessee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Texas

X

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

Utah

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Washington

X

X

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wisconsin

X

X

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL

17+DC

14+DC

5

3

3

1

1

2

6

3

 

Permanently enjoined; law not in effect.
    A broadly worded refusal policy may apply to pharmacists or pharmacies, but does not specifically include them.
    A hospital may contract with an independent medical professional in order to provide the emergency contraception services.
   Policy does not include an enforcement mechanism.  
Ψ  A hospital may refuse based on religious or moral beliefs to provide emergency contraception when requested by a woman who has been sexually
      assaulted. However, a refusing hospital is then required to immediately transport the woman to the closest medical facility that will provide her
      with the medication.