Myths about Plan B

A while ago, a friend shared an article called “What I Wish Women Knew About Plan B.” For a moment, I was excited to see her share something about women’s health, but as I read the article, my excitement promptly disappeared. The post perpetuated extensive falsehoods regarding basic science and pushed dangerous views onto readers.

I’ve found myself thinking about this article for a while, unable to shake my uneasiness with its inaccuracies and moral impositions. It espoused some of the most common myths about Plan B – myths that can and do put women in danger. Here are some of those myths – and the truth!

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Myth 1: Plan B can induce abortion.

NO. Plan B only prevents a pregnancy from occurring and will not induce an abortion in a woman who is already pregnant.1,2 

Myth 2: Women are hurt by premarital sex, emergency contraception, and abortion.

NO. These acts in and of themselves overwhelmingly do not cause women physical or psychological harm when occurring between consenting adults in healthy relationships – the harm that women endure is at the hands of intolerant, religious, and misogynistic communities that attempt to shame women into feeling guilt, loneliness, and brokenness. Religion then uses these broken down women and demands that they invest more of their time and self into the religion so that they can “be forgiven for their sins,” a clear cult-like strategy for forcing people into vulnerability and then exploiting it.

Myth 3: Abortion and Plan B are immoral.

Definite NO. Sex between consenting adults of any gender, whether before or after marriage, and the use of emergency contraception and abortion medication are all actions of free will that people may choose through exercising their bodily rights and are neither moral nor immoral actions to take. (Side note: Never feel ashamed, guilty, or immoral for making the choices that are best for you! Remember that it is up to YOU to decide what is best for your body. No imaginary person ever has to “forgive you” for taking control of your life.)

And the worst part:

The article glorifies an instance of a young woman’s hallucination and supposed interaction with an imaginary friend. I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or be deeply disturbed when I read this, but what I can say is that if you are going through a challenging time and you have a hallucination, please see a psychiatrist or psychologist rather than a priest.

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My discomfort with the article lies in more than just its inadequacies to properly portray Plan B.  What it should have said is that Plan B is a normal, simple, safe, and effective solution to preventing pregnancy, and that 5.8 million women in the United States (11% of the population) have used Plan B at one point in their life.3 But what it also should have said it that it is uniquely up to you to decide to participate in sex, use emergency contraception, and have or not have an abortion.

What women really need to know is that you should never be coerced by a community or religion into feeling guilty for the actions you take to control your reproductive health, and should never have to suffer at the hands of such a community.

 

Further Resources on Plan B:

The Morning-After-Pill

What Emergency Contraception is Right for You?

Information for Teens

Emergency Contraception US Policy

Overview of Various Methods of Contraception (Super great resource!)

(1) http://ec.princeton.edu/questions/ecabt.html

(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4345752/

(3)http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2013/02/14/emergency_contraception_use_11_percent_of_women_have_taken_plan_b_ec_at.html

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