This piece was submitted by Sophomore and nursing student, Scarlett Garcia
As a result of widespread, misinformed, and fraudulent ideas, the various situations when a woman considers using Plan B or a Planned Parenthood clinic are often misconstrued as a shameful and complicated predicament. Opponents to their utilization will try to tell you Plan B is an abortifacient. Don’t listen though, because science tells us that Plan B works by preventing pregnancy, rather than eliminating one. Not surprisingly, misunderstandings continuously circulate between people and media networks about Plan B’s function and how and where to access it. Similarly, there are numerous misconceptions regarding the services Planned Parenthood clinics offer. This, in turn, makes it significantly harder for us women to navigate when we need Plan B and where to purchase it or find Planned Parenthood clinics, especially in our area within Monroe County, Rochester. However, my purpose is to tell you the whats, hows, whens, and wheres of Plan B and Planned Parenthood clinics
PLAN B: What
Plan B, known as a type of “morning-after pill,” is an emergency contraceptive (EC) pill that’s used after having unprotected sexual intercourse. Although “Plan B One Step” is the most popular brand, there are numerous brands of morning-after pills, including Next Choice One Dose, Take Action, My Way, and AfterPill. All of which are levonorgestrel EC pills that can significantly lower your chance of pregnancy by 75%-89% if taken within three days after unprotected sex.
PLAN B: How
Levonorgestrel is an EC medication composed of a progestin hormone. It works mainly by preventing the release of an egg (ovulation) during your menstrual cycle Additionally, it makes vaginal fluid thicker to help prevent sperm from reaching an egg (fertilization) and changes the lining of the uterus (womb) to prevent attachment of a fertilized egg. However, this medication will not stop an existing pregnancy or protect you or your partner against sexually transmitted diseases, such as HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia. Taking levonorgestrel tablets as a form of birth control is very ill-advised, since it’s far less effective than its contraception counterparts, like birth control pills, an IUD, or even condoms. Women do not have to wait until the next morning if an emergency contraceptive is already available to them.
Plan B is extremely safe, as well as effective. Plan B can be taken up to five days and still work, but it’s not recommended to wait; the sooner a woman takes Plan B, the more effective it becomes at avoiding pregnancy. As previously stated, taking Plan B accordingly can reduce the chance of pregnancy by up to 89%. Whenever a woman takes Plan B, there is always the chance of experiencing mild side effects, but the odds are highly unlikely (one out of millions) and there has not been one report of serious complications. Nonetheless, reported mild side effects are an upset stomach, lightheadedness or dizziness, and/or temporary tender breasts. On the rare occasion that a woman throws up less than two hours after pill ingestion, she’ll need to take another one because it won’t work. Indeed, it is important to note that an estimated 0.6 to 2.6% of women will still get pregnant after taking Plan B.
PLAN B: When
Reasons for taking Plan B include but are not limited to:
- You didn’t use any birth control.
- The condom came off or broke.
- The diaphragm slipped out of place.
- You missed at least two or three active birth control pills in a row.
- You forgot to insert your ring or apply your patch
- Your partner didn’t “pull out” in time.
- You have another reason to think your birth control might not have worked.
- You were forced to have unprotected sex and/or non-consensual sex
The reason Plan B needs to be taken as soon as possible is that it works to prevent ovulation. Ovulation is the act of releasing a mature egg (also called an ova). The egg can live 12 to 24 hours. The egg dissolves if it isn’t fertilized by a sperm within this period. Ovulation occurs between periods, however, the day varies from cycle to cycle and woman to woman. Sadly, it is hard to tell when a woman is ovulating, but apps and tracking may help.
The egg takes several days to travel down the fallopian tube into the uterus. After it is in the uterus, a fertilized egg usually attaches to (implants in) the lining of the uterus (endometrium). But not all fertilized eggs successfully implant. If the egg is not fertilized or does not implant, the woman’s body sheds the egg and the endometrium. This shedding is what causes the bleeding in a woman’s menstrual period.
With that being said, if a woman has already ovulated and then takes any morning-after pill, it will not work. The motto to live by when it comes to emergency contraception is “the sooner, the better.”
PLAN B: Where
Fortunately, Plan B and other brands are now available to all, regardless of age or gender. Back in 2013, females aged 17 or younger required a prescription, and there were reports of men being refused EC pills (for their partner) for fear of distribution to minors. In short, nowadays, women can buy Plan B without being 18 or a prescription. You also don’t need your parents’ insurance or approval to buy it either. Since EC medication is usually kept behind the counter, you’ll likely need to ask the pharmacist or store clerk for it. The issue is that pharmacists and doctors can still deny women EC medication despite the lack of a law or policy supporting the refusal. If that’s the case, they’re supposed to direct you to a store that will issue EC medication. The following is a list of places that sell Plan B:
- 1304 Fairport Rd, Fairport, NY 14450
- 2200 Penfield Rd, Penfield, NY 14526
- 185 Winton Rd North, Rochester, NY 14610
- 2100 Monroe Ave, Rochester, NY 14618
- 1659 Penfield Rd, Rochester, NY 14625
- 2172 Penfield Rd, Penfield, NY 14526
- 635 Pittsford Victor Rd, Pittsford, NY 14534
- 1650 Elmwood Ave, Rochester, NY 14620
PLANNED PARENTHOOD: What
Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc., or Planned Parenthood, is a nonprofit organization that provides reproductive health care in the United States and globally. Planned Parenthood also delivers vital sex education and information to millions of people worldwide. Here is a list of Planned Parenthood services they provide:
- Abortion services and referrals
- Birth control and emergency contraception (morning-after pill)
- General/primary healthcare
- HIV services (tests and treatments) and COVID-19 vaccines
- LGBT services
- Men’s health services
- Patient education and mental health
- Pregnancy testing and services
- STD testing, treatment, and vaccines
- Women’s services: birth control, STD tests, pelvic exams, cancer screenings, and more
PLANNED PARENTHOOD: HOW
Planned Parenthood practices confidentiality. Confidentiality is synonymous with privacy. It implies that unless you give your consent, the provider will not tell your parents or guardians anything you talk about with him or her regarding certain matters including sex (STI testing and treatment for patients 12 years and older), drugs, or emotional hardships.
You can talk to your provider for things such as thinking you might be pregnant, needing birth control or Plan B (morning-after pill), thinking you have an STI (sexually transmitted infection), needing information about alcohol, tobacco, or other drug use, being hurt by someone, wanting to talk about personal, school or family issues, or discussing feelings about sex and sexuality.
Yet, some things cannot remain confidential (private). Your health care provider will need to contact someone else to help if you are being physically, sexually, and/or emotionally abused.
Planned Parenthood providers and services are available through scheduled Telehealth and in-person appointments. In-person appointments require face coverings, though. Walk-ins are also accepted daily, on a first-come first-served basis. All health centers accept walk-ins up to two hours before the health center closes. Any patient 19 years of age or under will be seen same-day, guaranteed.
PLANNED PARENTHOOD: When
There is no need for an extreme reason to contact Planned Parenthood via the phone or in-person visit. Anyone can talk to a Planned Parenthood provider when they have simple questions, need help getting out of a sticky situation and need to talk through one, or are interested in a service Planned Parenthood offers.
Services that Planned Parenthood offers are in the “Planned Parenthood: What” section; other reasons to visit are located in the preceding “Planned Parenthood: How” section.
PLANNED PARENTHOOD: Where
- Less than one mile away: 114 University Avenue, Rochester, NY 14605 (866-600-6886)
- Three miles away: 2225 S Clinton, Brighton, NY 14618 (866-600-6886)
- 25 miles away: 15 LaFayette Avenue, Canandaigua, NY 14424 (866-600-6886)
- 31 miles away: 222 W Main Street Batavia, NY 14020 (866-600-6886)
Although any situation that may require the use of Plan B or a visit to a Planned Parenthood clinic is a highly private and personal matter, you are not alone. Providers at Planned Parenthood clinics and many women around the world are our allies, not to mention there are resources here on St. John Fisher’s campus to talk about the subject at hand. Quite frankly, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out if Plan B or a Planned Parenthood service is the best course of action since fictitious information constantly circles the media and daily conversation. Stress stemming from the confusion of reproductive health is almost inevitable. Auspiciously, there are many resources, including myself, that can lend a helping hand to make the best decision for your health and shed light on Plan B and Planned Parenthood clinics.