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  /  News   /  Post-Dobbs, emergency contraception use dropped: Study

Post-Dobbs, emergency contraception use dropped: Study

(NewsNation) — Following the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision to overturn decades-long abortion protections in the United States, fewer people filled their oral contraceptive pill and emergency contraceptive prescriptions.

The change was felt most heavily in the states that implemented more restrictive policies post-Dobbs, a University of Los Angeles study found.

The research looked at 143 million prescriptions dispensed between March 2021 and October 2023, noting an increase in emergency contraceptive fills in the first year following the decision.


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Notably, one year after Roe v. Wade was overturned, a massive 65% drop in emergency contraceptive prescription fills was recorded.

It also found that, between the dozen states with the most restrictive abortion bans, a total combined decline in emergency contraceptive prescriptions was 60%. Oral contraceptives saw a 24% drop.

Researchers believe the constantly shifting discussions about emergency contraceptives, like Plan B, have created confusion among residents in states with the most restrictive abortion regulations.


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Politicians likening Plan B and other emergency contraceptive pills to “abortion pills” likely contributed to the sharp drop-off in their use, pharmacy professor Dima Qato told News From The States.

A 2023 Kaiser Family Foundation poll backs that idea, with more than 30% of adults unsure whether Plan B was legal nationwide over the counter. That same poll found half of the women in states with abortion bans were unsure or under the impression they were illegal.

“These findings suggest that efforts to protect and improve access to oral contraceptives are needed, especially for emergency contraceptives in states where abortion is most strongly restricted,” the research reads.


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Qato also hypothesized the closure of abortion clinics in states with the most comprehensive bans contributed to the decline, as many of those facilities also prescribed oral and emergency contraceptives to patients.