The Controversy of Emergency Contraception in the Pharmacy

Did you see the episode of Law & Order last season where it started with the disoriented young lady strolling into the pharmacy and requesting a Plan B pill?

The pharmacist was very rude and judgmental then proceeded to lecture the girl about safe sex, abstinence, etc.. Unbeknownst to the pharmacist, she had been raped.

That was very extreme in my opinion, but the fact of the matter is; by law, pharmacists have the right not to sell Plan B if they don’t want to.


The Controversy of Emergency Contraception in the Pharmacy - Rx Fitness Lady


I was thinking of using this post for the 2nd Mini Blog Challenge Party  Controversial topic, but chose to discuss a hot spot for me “If you say “She’s Cute to be Dark-Skinned””!


A few weeks ago in Sunday School, we discussed the controversy amongst pharmacists (To Sell or NOT to Sell).  I thought I’d chat with you here at Rx Fitness Lady for a hot My Health Monday topic.


WHAT IS PLAN B? (Plan B One-Step, Next Choice, My Way) 

Emergency Contraception! It should not be used for routine birth control! Long-term effects of frequent use are unknown.

These medications are hormones progestin used to prevent pregnancy within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse (sex) or contraceptive failure (forgot pills, broken condoms, etc.)



Plan B One-Step is approved for non-prescription (OTC) use in all females of childbearing potential regardless of age!



Behind the Counter Status – Normally, you’d walk to the pharmacy and show a valid I.D. for purchase. Previously, it was only sold to ages 17 & up.

UPDATE: Plan B is no longer behind the counter status, it is available over the counter without consultation requirements from a pharmacist. 

With the new approval for all childbearing aged females, the products had to be repackaged to reflect the change and are currently unavailable.


OPTION – Have your doctor call in an emergency contraceptive dose of standard birth control pills.  This is what was done in the good ole days.  Granted, that is not as easy to do, so other options…

Take Birth Control

Oral Contraceptives - Rx Fitness Lady

Use Condoms

Condoms - Rx Fitness Lady

Practice Abstinence



It’s not really well understood! There are primary and secondary mechanisms suggested by scientific evidence, but that’s medical gibberish for another forum!

MOST IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO KNOW IS – These medications WILL NOT interrupt an established (implanted) pregnancy.



This brings us to the controversy; well at least in my opinion…

I don’t believe in abortion! Yes, controversial, but I’m not being judgmental at all.  This is how I choose to live my life and I take nothing away from anyone who has a different opinion.

I gave you the bottom line on how Plan B works because I don’t view it as abortion.  I cannot speak for other pharmacists, but I believe the reason that so many of them won’t dispense it is because they disagree with me.

Furthermore, I feel that as a professional, dispensing/selling medications are a part of my responsibility.  If I open the door to refuse this (based on the mechanism) then I have to deal with whether or not to dispense standard birth control, making this entire topic entirely too sticky.

If a pharmacist denies selling you or a loved one a form of Plan B, they are within their rights.  They are, however supposed to inform you of where and how you can get the medication elsewhere.

I am comfortable being the only location to purchase Plan B within a 30-mile radius on the night shift, not to say that all of my fellow night shift peers are the opposite, I’m just saying!


What say you! Step into my shoes for a moment!




Rx Fitness Lady wants to know…

  • If you were a pharmacists, would you sell Plan B, why or why not?
  • How do you feel about the new approval of Plan B for all females of childbearing age?
  • Let me step into your shoes, please share with me a controversial subject dealing with your profession or current situation (SAHM)?
  • Did you watch the 2 hours season premier of Law & Order SVU? Did Liv kick his butt or what? What else are you looking forward to watching? (I know some of you won’t want to touch this, so chat with me on T.V. 😉 )



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Rx Fitness Lady

Greetings, I'm Joi, a Pharmacist with a passion for fitness & a community leader. I teach BODYCOMBAT, BODYPUMP, Tabata Boot Camp, & serve as a mentor to young girls. My goal is to inspire people to live healthy, active, & prosperous lifestyles through practical blog posts deliveries. You can find me on Facebook and Instagram. You can view more post and subscribe to stay tuned to latest updates at Rx Fitness Lady.

55 thoughts on “The Controversy of Emergency Contraception in the Pharmacy

  1. If I were in your position, I would sell it. It can be hard in situations like this that really can be for/against personal or religious beliefs.
    I work at a university, so I have to do trainings on counseling LGBTQ students from time to time. Personally, I just want all students to be safe and feel comfortable speaking with me no matter what their situation. I don’t believe that personal/religious beliefs affect that mission. I don’t share my opinions. I accept all of my students and do my best to support them when a problem arises.
    Kimberly (Manifest Yourself) recently posted…CNB: Cookie BrowniesMy Profile

  2. I would sell it if I was a pharmacist because I don’t know the reason behind why that person needs it. It could be rape, it could be that they can’t afford birth control and condoms are not 100% and they can’t afford or want a child, it could be because they are scared of their parents finding out and hopefully will think better the next time around who knows. I have never had to use it but I know a few females who are in their 30’s who have used it because they were with a man for one night and didn’t think. It’s not just the young ones using the pill it’s older women also.
    Kita recently posted…A $3,000+ Dental Bill?! Don’t Let it Happen to You!My Profile

    • You are so right! I’ve had married women purchase them too. The reasons are not my concern but more of the professionalism I feel that is my duty!

  3. If I were you, I’d probably sell it. But having said that, some personal convictions have precluded me from pursuing certain professions.

    It always concerns me when the law expands their reach to children. I think education and prevention is more important when it comes to children.

    In my practice, I will not adjust (manipulate) a person’s neck without taking or reviewing xrays. I’ve had people come into my office w severe neck pain, refused xrays and say they’ve been to a chiropractor before and they just want their necks “cracked”. Too bad. If I have no records to review, I’m not touching you (unless you opt for therapy only or instrumentation), no manual adjusting from me. I’m quick to recommend someone else.

    Didn’t watch…don’t get to watch much tv
    Hope recently posted…Women of Faith Conference recap: The God Squad 29:11My Profile

    • It sounds like you are a good practitioner. Your patients are lucky to have you wether they know it or not. I can totally see not going into certain professions but I must admit that as a senior in HS I wasn’t thinking about that.

  4. Girl I don’t know. That is sticky. I’d probably sell it.

    Current “situation” – SAHM/Photographer’s wife. I already can’t remember what I wrote instead of the “a day in the life” blog challenge prompt. I was going to describe a day of exactly what I do. But the people who inquire, “Well what DO you do ALL day?” wouldn’t be the ones to read it. I’ve written about our photography business before but not specifically what I do.

    I still may post something so hold that thought…
    Kenya G. Johnson recently posted…Monday stream of consciousness….My Profile

  5. I think that is a hard line. I’m kind of on the fence – I think that people who purposely plan to obtain the emergency contraception fall into one category but then there are so many other issues. Personally, I think that anyone is raped falls into a completely different category and even abortion is different under that circumstance.
    Kim recently posted…Monday Morning MusingsMy Profile

  6. So my question is does the pharmacist have an individual right to refuse to sell or can the pharmacist be required to sell it as an employee of the pharmacy? Also, I have to say that as a woman, going to the pharmacist and asking for this in the first place is probably uncomfortable and embarrassing. I would feel judged if someone refused to sell it to me for their own personal beliefs. Regardless of whether they gave me information on where to get it or not, I would want to know BEFORE I made the request (via a sign or something).

    • Good point Brittnay! The young ladies are 95% of the time uncomfortable.

      A pharmacists has an individual right, the pharmacy cannot force them to sell!

  7. Yes, I’d probably sell it if I were a pharmacist. I don’t think it should be used as continual birth control…does that happen that often though, Joi? You probably see this side of it more than most. I do disagree with the new laws allowing underage minors to get it without parental knowledge. I am of the belief that the government should not get to tell my child what I do and do not need to know. Parents ARE important. And I do think rape falls into a different category.
    Michelle recently posted…Meandering Mondays 14 {Link Party}My Profile

    • Yes it does according to my fellow pharmacists. I can’t say that I’ve encountered frequent abusers but then again, I just work the night shift!

  8. I, too, don’t believe in abortion, and I don’t believe in giving underage kids access to this pill, but if I were a pharmacist, I probably would err on the side of giving the pill rather than raking the person over the coals. She’s probably going through enough angst of her own, so my judgment is not going to help her. BUT… if for any reason she did ask my opinion, I would share it with her, with much grace and love.
    Alison recently posted…ModerationMy Profile

  9. I remember that episode of Law & Order.

    This is a tricky one. Even though I am against abortion, I don’t think that’s what this is. You aren’t taking the life of an embryo. But regardless of that, it is your job. There are many Christians out there that work for people or companies where they have to put their values to the test. For example, as a secretary I might be asked to say my boss is in a meeting when he is not. While I do agree that you are most certainly going to get more backlash than I might; I think people should examine their own jobs and take a look at what’s really going on. Trust me, unless you work for yourself there is going to be something that directly or indirectly conflicts with your core values. It’s up to the individual to decide if where they are at steps to far over the line.

    Regarding Plan B…it’s not my role to judge people. I think that as someone who was pregnant as a teenager and who has a very loving but overbearing mother I would have been happier to make my own decision than being told what to do. So I guess I don’t have a problem with it if there is enough education.
    Carla recently posted…Final Thoughts on Being a Verizon Wireless AmbassadorMy Profile

    • I’m glad you caught that Carli! That was the point I wanted to make clear. It’s not abortion. We provide patients with all the education they ask for and we are there 24/7 if they need to call back.

  10. This is an important topic and I’m glad you brought it up. I would absolutely sell it. Why? If I chose to get on a moral high horse as a pharmacist then maybe I wouldn’t sell high blood pressure meds to people who are overweight or ally for that matter. I feel like it’s not a pharmacists responsibility to judge people, it’s to give them medication.
    Allie recently posted…Two TimingMy Profile

  11. Great post Joi! I have always been so curious about this plan b and Its crazy that there hasn’t been any in 4 months!! I may have missed this but is it covered by insurances?

    I never viewed it as abortion because it prevents pregnancy. I think that as long as there isn’t a fetus, then there is no abortion. do you get a lot of requests for it? If you cant answer I understand.
    Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama recently posted…He said: “Bye Mommy”My Profile

    • If a doctor writes a prescription it is possible. It depends on what insurance company. That is never a black and white question. Different companies cover different things.

      I will say, that the doctor can write the old fashion birth control pills and instruct the high dose and that will almost guaranteed get covered by insurance.

  12. Teachable moment! (in my Oprah voice) I did not know that Plan B was non-prescription. And this recent development of all females of child-bearing age?! Wow. If I were a Pharmacist, I would sell it. I believe in a woman’s right to choose. I don’t believe in handing it over to someone 17 or younger though. I don’t watch Law & Order SVU but my mother is a big fan of the whole L&O franchise.

    My current WAHM issue is do I spend time on the things that I can earn money for now or on the things that will begin earning money in the near future indefinitely. Great post, Joi!
    Kimberly H. Smith recently posted…My Series Finale…Don’t Worry, There’s A Spin-OffMy Profile

  13. I remember there being talk about making Plan B available to all females of child-bearing age, but I had no idea that the change had actually been made. If I was a pharmacist, I believe I would sell it. In a country of freedom of religion/belief, I have to recognize that everyone does not hold the same beliefs that I do, and that’s okay. I cannot force my personal beliefs on the next person – it’s not fair.
    I did not see that episode of Law & Order, but the idea of something like that happening to anyone, let alone a rape victim, infuriates me!
    Kennie recently posted…Are We there Yet?My Profile

  14. Whew – I read every thoughtful comment. Not to help me form my opinions (mine were already locked), but because I like discussions. By the way, I’ve never seen Law & Order. That aside, I think I would absolutely sell it. It wouldn’t be my job to question or grill or judge people in need. I can’t imagine it’s easy to walk into a pharmacy and ask for it, especially knowing that you might be denied. So. Scary.
    Tamara recently posted…Live To Tell.My Profile

    • Very scary for the patient and I treat them all equal. I had people who read the blog but don’t comment tell me they read through the comments as well Tamara. Controversy truly does make for good discussion!

  15. The Husband and I stopped watching SVU a few years ago – much because we just can’t stand to see the horrible things that the female characters go through.

    Regarding birth control/Plan B…you know I’m Catholic. And the Catholic church has no problem sharing it’s opinion on the subject. What will say is that I definitely respect a pharmacist who is willing to stand up for his/her beliefs.
    Leslie recently posted…{Weigh in Wednesday} Week 39My Profile

  16. Joi, I think it is so wonderful that we can have a respectful discussion about such a sensitive topic here on your blog.

    If I were a pharmacist I would sell it. I support women’s rights to make choices about their reproductive health. And while I hate to think about teens from loving homes having access to this medication without their parents knowledge, I know there are so many teens aren’t lucky enough to have loving parents, and don’t have a safe adult to turn to. So for that reason, I do support Plan B being available for all women of childbearing age.
    Stevie recently posted…Ever So SubtlyMy Profile

    • It was so good! It’s so alarming that crazy stuff like that really happens. I know that wasn’t the point of the post, but psychos are scary!

  17. I remember that episode of Law & Order! I really resented the woman’s attitude (although it was obviously all staged :P) and I think it’s unnecessary to judge somebody when you don’t know the reasons behind their decisions.

    As a pharmacist, I would sell it every time to anyone that wants it because I don’t think you have the right to “play God” with someone’s future who you don’t know anything about.
    Kate recently posted…Gay Pride in CologneMy Profile

    • It was staged but you know one of the best things about SVU is that it is based off such real life happenings. Her attitude was very judgmental and out of line….in my opinion!

  18. I’m a labor and delivery nurse. There are plenty of women who come in to have “late term abortions” for reasons that don’t have to do with their health. While I don’t agree with this, and I personally wouldn’t do this, it’s not my body. It’s not my choice. No one has the right to regulate what another woman does with HER body. If a woman wants access to plan b and the pharmacy has it, the pharmacy should supply it. Stop bringing personal views into the situation. It’s not like they are personally shoving it down the woman’s throat. I say the pharmacist should just do their job.
    LaShawn recently posted…Busy Weekends and My Life’s PhotosMy Profile

    • I agree for myself but so many others just don’t see it that way! You have a very brave job within your profession LaShawn!

  19. If “Drug” stores really wanted to help people they would stop selling cigarettes!

    As for abortion. No one is for it! However, abortions are going to happen whether they are legal or not. I feel it is medicine’s responsibility to make sure they happen in as safe an environment as possible.
    Dr. J recently posted…Why Running is Actually Good for Your KneesMy Profile

  20. I would sell it, but they would definitely have to show ID to let me know they are over 17. I also don’t believe in abortions, but don’t judge as well. I would never put myself in a place to make a decision for a woman and what she can handle. I just didn’t believe in it for myself. You have done a good job with information about your profession Joi, good job and thank you.
    Whitney recently posted…Pinterest WednesdayMy Profile

  21. Hey Joi! I, like yourself don’t believe in abortion, but, I also feel as if I don’t have the right to impose my beliefs on others. If I were a pharmacist, yes I would sell it, because that’s what my job entails. I wouldn’t have the right to judge someone, not knowing why they are purchasing it. However, I strongly disagree with selling it to underage girls! The only reason they’re doing that is because parents are saying they’re going to have sex anyway…really now!? Listen, I get so sick and tired of these parents who are always complaining about how they can’t “control” their daughters. Plaaa-ease! I mean really, let me have them for one day, I’ll show you just how easy it is to control them. Ooh girl, I’m sorry, was I ranting again? Please forgive me, sometimes I do that. lol! 😀 Anywho…with my line of work(a pastor’s wife), when dealing with people’s personal lives, as far as counseling and giving advice…you can only imagine how sticky that can be. BUT, my husband and I always give disclaimers!:-) Have a good one my friend! xoxo
    Michell recently posted…Doing YOU WELL Wednesday #35 and a new seriesMy Profile

  22. Loved reading these comments. I’m definitely against abortion, seeing that I was a former fetus and all. However, I would probably end up selling the pill too, as I don’t think it’s an abortion pill. As for any controversy in my job as a SAHM – people assuming I play on the computer all day – I don’t. Or people thinking I’m JUST a SAHM. Actually I have a bachelors degree from a private school, which is ranked in the top 100 colleges in the nation – #1 in the Oklahoma. I used to work, and now I’m using my education and personal convictions to raise up my children to be well-rounded individuals. I don’t look at that as “not mattering.” My husband looks at me on his days off and says, “I don’t know how you do this.” That said, I would like to take a moment and give all the working moms out there a shout out. I used to be one, too. And I admire your strength and dedication to your families. Working moms and SAHMs need to build each other up.

    Meredith recently posted…~ Fall Mantle ~ And a Thank You ~My Profile

    • I’m definitely against abortion, seeing that I was a former fetus and all.<<< 🙂 Clever! Hats off to ALL mothers in my book! Both are to be commended for the hard work! Can't be easy either way!

  23. Isn’t there a different pill that can actually cause an abortion? I think people confuse Plan B with whatever that is and that is why people are so against it.

    I’m surprised so many people are against having it available to teens, I mean, isn’t teen pregnancy kind of a problem? Sure, if they need it they have made some poor choices but at least they are trying to fix the situation BEFORE they get pregnant.

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