SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — When the US Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion, doctors witnessed an interesting phenomenon.
Their patients went to their local pharmacies to stock up on emergency contraception, known as “Plan B,” and the stores began rationing the kits.
Plan B is the morning after pill that prevents emergency pregnancy if contraception fails. It is not a drug used by pregnant women to result in an abortion.
So why are women rushing to buy multiple kits in California, where abortion remains legal?
dr. Toni Brayer, an internal medicine specialist and former chief of staff for the California Pacific Medical Center, suggests a possible answer: fears federal lawmakers could enact a national abortion ban.
“Women are very resourceful and if they feel their rights are being violated, they will take matters into their own hands and make sure they protect themselves and take care of their own health,” says Dr. Brayer explained.
Plan B’s peak ended quickly and pharmacies told KPIX demand has returned to normal. What is not normal is the influx of women from out of state wanting to have abortions.
“We book almost 7 to 10 days for people seeking abortion care in California,” said Dr. Pratima Gupta, an abortion provider in Southern California.
dr. Gupta says other clinics in the state are seeing new and similar wait times. Clinics have extended their opening hours and their days of service. In addition, interns from states that have banned abortions are now in California and have been granted temporary medical permits. These interns help with the surge in additional patients and teach them how to perform abortions.
“They can be trained in how to provide abortion care so we can increase access in other places,” said Dr. gupta.
Studies show that more than half of all pregnancies are unplanned.
dr. Brayer said young women should not get their reproductive health information from TikTok videos or other social media platforms. She and her colleagues have seen posts that are either full of misinformation or downright dangerous. She urged young people to turn to more reputable sources.
“I think now, more than ever, it’s important for women to understand the reproductive cycle, to be educated about what’s available to them. Sure, there may be women who don’t know about Plan B and it’s very simple and secure and they should have that information.”
dr. Brayer also suggests that women use old-fashioned paper calendars to track their cycles — especially if they’re concerned about being tracked digitally.
CDC Reproductive Health Information