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Has Plan B Become Our Plan A?

By Breanna from THINX

 

The first time I took Plan B One-Step® was after a night fueled by margaritas and Drake and Rihanna duets, in a club with cat murals on the walls. Needless to say, this hot combo led to waking up with a dim sum craving and the need to take extra precautions. At the time I wasn’t on the pill, and in the lust of the evening, the condom pulled a Houdini. Luckily for me, and so many other women out there not wanting a lifelong souvenir of the power of Drake lyrics, there is Plan B.

I now have an IUD and am living my best life. A lot of women are choosing to move away from birth control pills and towards other options, because they are adventurous and open minded and want to make sure their uteruses are treated like queens.

IUDs are becoming a popular form of long-term birth control, and after initial cervical shock, they’re not that invasive. Many women find that hormonal IUDs also make periods less uncomfortable. Yay! And although they can cost a pretty penny, if you average things out over their wonderful five-year lifespan, they are more affordable than oral contraceptives.

But there’s always Plan B, waiting in the wings when Plan A decides to take a back seat. Plan B has now become the most widely searched term related to birth control, with 246,000 monthly searches. That’s drastically more than my monthly search count for “nearest Starbucks”. Plan B is supposed to be a backup—so why do so many women rely on it?

It’s Accessible & Affordable

Women use Plan B because they can. In 2011 it became legal in all states to purchase over the counter (fck yes girl power!) It’s quick and—when taken with the right amount of ginger ale and Gilmore Girls episodes—quite painless. It also comes in a little blue box, and what girl doesn’t want a little blue box?

Like getting the right to vote, being able to fight for our country, and getting the same pay as Kevin Spacey on House of Cards, access to safe and affordable healthcare has been something of a struggle for women, and still is. After the Affordable Care Act, contraception was recognized as a key preventative health service for women, so insurance companies have to cough up—yay! :) That said, many insurance plans will only cover certain types of birth control, and religious organizations that provide health care can be exempt—boo. :(

For women who still can’t afford the basic right of reliable birth control, Plan B is their Plan A. A single dose costs between $30–$60 in most states, which is often more accessible than a doctor’s appointment and a prescription.

It’s Empowering

Plan B gives women that much more power to make decisions in the moment, so that the act of unprotected sex isn’t a mistake, but rather a faint memory of that ok but not great Tinder date.

...But There Are Downsides

As a guy wearing a bandana and a cowboy hat once said “Every rose has its thorn,” and Plan B is no exception. There are some pretty good reasons you shouldn’t be using it as your primary birth control. Here’s what you need to know:

Plan B does not have any protection against STIs. So if that wiener wasn’t wrapped up, go on in and get yourself tested for any lil’ critters.

Plan B is not as effective as other forms of birth control. For most ladies, Plan B can be 95% effective if taken within the first 24 hours. For those of you doing the math, that means you’ve got about a 1 in 20 chance of getting pregnant, if you were going to anyway. Let’s put that into context. If you used each of these methods correctly, here are the odds you’d avoid pregnancy:

  • IUD: over 99%
  • Oral contraceptives: over 99%
  • Condoms: 98%
  • Plan B: 95%

Plan B may not work well if you’re over 165 pounds. Studies have argued both ways here, but there’s a decent chance that Plan B will be less effective if you have a BMI over 25. For all us lovely curvy ladies, that is a huge bummer.

Not even Plan B says it should be used as regular birth control. It’s right there in their FAQ. Twice. Two times. Dos. If I’ve learned anything from things that happen two times (mostly my mother copying and pasting the same text message to me about the health benefits of Swiss chard), it’s that it’s probably important.

At the end of the day, girls just want to have FUNdamental rights, and slowly but surely, we and our ovaries are making progress. Yes, it’s taken time, and yes, if men could get pregnant, contraceptive options would be on every block, with each purchase earning you points towards an IUD.

Alas, we don’t live in that world (and kind of thank God because men would be babies when it comes to cramps), so we have Plan B. It’s called an emergency contraceptive for a reason—it’s there for the times you really need it, like after an impulsive night of margaritas, cat murals, and Drizzy’s sweet nothings. Keep in mind that you’re number one baby, and at the end of the day taking care of yourself should be Plan A, B, and C.

Photos: Standard Studio / Shutterstock.com

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