Major chain stores like CVS and Walmart are reportedly limiting how many emergency contraceptives a customer can purchase, mere days after the US Supreme Court overturned the landmark ruling that protected access to abortion on a federal level.
On Monday, The Wall Street Journal reported that retailers like CVS and Walmart were curtailing how many Plan B pills a customer could buy. They note that CVS was allowing customers to purchase up to three of the pills while Walmart’s cut-off was “four or six.”
A CVS spokesperson told The Journal that these limits were temporary and that the rationing was not due to the stores running out of Plan B.
Plan B, the shortened name for Plan B One Step, is an over-the-counter emergency contraceptive tablet. The pill, which has colloquially been called the “morning after pill,” is most effective when taken less than 72 hours after unprotected sex or birth control failure and can prevent pregnancy. Levonorgestrel is the pill’s main ingredient and works by interfering with a person’s ovulation cycle.
Since Roe was overturned on Friday, many people who can get pregnant have expressed their interest in stockpiling the pill. Sarah McKenna, a 21-year-old spiritual adviser and tarot card reader in Saylorsburg, Pa., told The New York Times this week that she went on Amazon to buy pills “not only for myself but for those who need it, because people are going to buy them and resell them for a crazy price.”
“I have friends and family who can’t always afford those things and I wanted to just have some extra to make sure that the people who need it can have it. Even if I have to ship it to somebody randomly,” she told the publication.
Experts have been advising against stockpiling Plan B as it limits access for those who need it immediately and increases the chance of doses going unused and expiring in medicine cabinets.
Melissa Sörgel, a licensed pharmacist at OTC Beratung in Germany, told Insider last year that Plan B has “an expiration date of about four years” and that, while not “completely ineffective after the expiration date,” “it may no longer be fully effective” so it’s “advisable to not use an expired pill in order to avoid the risk of a pregnancy."
Representatives for Walmart, CVS, and Plan B One Step did not immediately respond to The Independent’s request for comment.