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Report: Inaccurate Info Keeping Some Ohioans from Emergency Birth Control

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PHOTO: Researchers say misinformation from some pharmacy staff is preventing some teens from accessing emergency contraception. Photo credit: morgue file.
PHOTO: Researchers say misinformation from some pharmacy staff is preventing some teens from accessing emergency contraception. Photo credit: morgue file.
March 13, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Researchers say misinformation from pharmacy workers is preventing some teens from getting emergency contraception.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association surveyed more than 900 pharmacies in five cities across the nation, including Cleveland.

While the majority of areas had same-day availability of emergency contraception, Kellie Copeland, executive director NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, says inaccurate information was common.

"Particularly in the lower-income neighborhoods,” she relates. “Twenty-three percent of the pharmacists don't know or aren't telling people the right age cutoff.

“That shows that we need to have some clarification for those professionals so they know what the current legal parameters are."

According to the study, some of the recurring misinformation included pharmacy staff saying a prescription was needed or that a parent had to be along with a teen, neither of which is true.

In addition, some pharmacy workers said they didn't feel comfortable dispensing emergency contraception, citing personal beliefs.

When used correctly, Plan B One-Step is 95 percent effective in preventing unintended pregnancies if taken within 24 hours of unprotected sex.

And Copeland says while emergency contraception isn't intended to be a go-to method of pregnancy prevention, it is important that women know all their options.

"Everyone deserves a second chance to not be pregnant when they don't want to be and emergency contraception being made available without a prescription is a terrific, terrific thing,” she says. “And women should make use of that when and if they need to."

Copeland says teens talk to their physician and have a plan for birth control.

She adds that it's always important to use a condom to prevent the spread of HIV, AIDS or other sexually transmitted infections.



Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH