Several “what if” questions about birth control have emerged this week after a confirmed draft opinion that the US Supreme Court could overturn Roe v. Wade was leaked to the public.
There has been a surge of calls, clinics say. Most are from women who are seeking to learn more about their options, particularly about contraceptive medication, such as Plan B, and devices.
“It is causing panic,” Renee Chelian, founder and CEO of Northland Family Planning in Southfield said Thursday, adding that other reproductive health clinics are getting calls, too. “We also have seen a lot of posts on Facebook.”
But, she said, the clinics are trying to tamp down concerns by telling callers they have Plan B, and while there has been a slight increase in sales, it is not enough to be alarming.
Moreover, the Michigan Pharmacists Association, which is made up of pharmacy professionals, said Thursday it is too early to know whether there will be a spike in sales.
Still, searches for “Plan B” and other terms on social media are up and so are social media posts by women saying they’ve heard accounts of clinic and gynecologists’ phone lines ringing off the hook.
Bloomberg, a financial news organization, reported this week that activists are decrying a “public health emergency” as women wonder what’s next for reproductive rights.
Women, the report said, also are scrambling nationally to “load up on Plan B” pills.
“Online searches emerged for over-the-counter emergency contraceptive medication,” the article said, “while some people started setting up appointments to get intrauterine devices, also known as IUDs, a longer-term form of birth control.”
Google data, the report said, showed “buy Plan B online” surged 160% in a week.
In addition, some Michiganders have asked whether they could cross the international border and go to Canada, where abortions are legal, to get them.
Still, how much of this trend is motivated by political activism, entrepreneurial zeal, and women who fear losing their reproductive rights is unclear.
Political strategists say the leaked opinion could affect dozens of races, potentially threatening Republicans’ hopes of regaining control of the US House and Senate and giving Democrats an affirmative talking point.
News of the draft opinion set off a flurry of Democratic fundraising.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer took to Twitter on Tuesday to blast the opinion, and seek campaign donations.
Other Democrats have, too.
“The Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade,” Whitmer wrote, adding that “I promise you this: I will fight like hell to make sure abortion remains safe, legal, and accessible in our state.”
This is not the first instance of women stockpiling Plan B pills.
They’re suspects in Wayne County’s most violent cases. And they’re free right now.
Michigan is about to warm up: 80-degree days on tap for next week
In 2017, the Huffington Post published an online headline, “Women Are Stocking Up On The Morning-After Pill Before Trump Takes Office,” noting women started “tweeting about stashing the pills” after the GOP announced plans to defund Planned Parenthood.
Two years later, Cosmopolitan magazine, an American monthly fashion and entertainment magazine for women, ran a report, “Read This Before You Stockpile A Ton of Plan B.”
Yahoo! republished the report online.
The article said it’s “time to start mildly doomsday-prepping your uterus.”
It urged women to “goad your gyno into giving you extra birth control pills, get an IUD in there, and, while you’re at it, fill an entire dresser drawer with Plan B — the only emergency contraceptive currently available without a prescription. “
The article also included some tips, such as “you should always keep the pill on-hand rather than waiting until an oops happens and then rushing to the store,” and be aware of expiration dates because, “yeah, this stuff does expire. “
Plan B — also known as the morning-after pill or emergency contraception — can be used to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or after another birth control method fails. It became available over the counter in 2006.
The medications disrupt ovulation or fertilization, which is required for pregnancy. This form of contraception is often offered to women who do not wish to give birth but have had unprotected sex or with a condom that failed.
Less than a year ago, USA Today reported that a Texas law banning abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy prompted some residents there to started stockpiling contraceptives.
The report quoted Texas residents, including a volunteer with a group that helps fund abortions and a sex worker.
Contact Frank Witsil: 313-222-5022 or firstname.lastname@example.org.