Most sexually active adults have, at one point in time, encountered an "oops" moment during a sexual rendezvous. Maybe the condom broke, or you decided to throw caution to the wind and go without protection "just this once"... only to realize later you'd rather not take that risk. Or, maybe, as in the new film, The Pill, you have a one-night stand with a woman who isn't on the pill and doesn't ask you to use a condom ... only to realize later: Holy cow, I'm not ready to have a baby with this woman I just met (not to mention I'm actually in a relationship with someone else).
That's where the morning-after pill comes in.
As Mindy (Rachel Boston) and Fred (Noah Bean) discover the morning after the aforementioned unprotected romp, emergency contraceptives are — luckily — quite accessible. Mindy is "pretty, very sure" she's not ovulating. While women who are actively trying to make babies tend to know their cycles in and out, how many ladies who are trying to avoid pregnancy actually track their ovulation cycle? Not so many, right? The more sensible Fred encourages the pair to head to the pharmacy shortly after this exchange in the clip below:
While Mindy and Fred easily secure the pill at their local pharmacy, not everyone has such an easy go of it. A recent study showed that one in five pharmacists refused to sell emergency contraceptives to researchers posing as 17-year-olds, even though it's completely legal to sell to them. Other states have passed laws granting pharmacists the right to refuse to sell the morning-after pill if it interferes with their religious beliefs (despite the fact that emergency contraception functions ike hormonal birth control and not like RU-486, the "abortion pill"). And, finally, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius last year vetoed the FDA's approval to sell Plan B — the brand name of the morning-after pill — on pharmacy shelves vs. over-the-counter, in order to sidestep the issues with dispensation.
Despite the challenges to access, many women and couples have benefitted from taking Plan B or Next Choice, it's generic alternative. Because, as Mindy and Fred learn, depending on a "pretty, very sure I'm not ovulating" answer isn't quite as powerful as using emergency contraceptives when it comes to avoiding an unwanted pregnancy.
Recent studies estimate somewhere between 10-20 percent of all women have used the morning-after pill. What about you? Have you ever had to use emergency contraception? Please take our (anonymous!) poll and tell us about it in the comments below.
And, of course, watch The Pill online!