Half-price emergency contraception can be ordered online if you think ahead

After-Pill-375x250 2A new health care company called Syzygy sells emergency contraception online for $25 including shipping–which is about half the cost of EC sold at a pharmacy.

Eliminating the middleman and shipping directly to the consumer not only reduces the cost but also sidesteps some of the other barriers folks often face trying to get EC. Sometimes pharmacies don’t stock it, and despite the fact that EC is supposed to be available to everyone over-the-counter, pharmacists routinely, incorrectly turn away young people and men. And getting a discreet, unmarked package in the mail might be more comfortable than talking to a cashier for some folks. 

One drawback is that AfterPill doesn’t accept insurance, although I can’t really imagine many people are using insurance to buy EC anyway. Although it should be covered at no additional cost under the new contraceptive mandate, your plan may not cover all brands or may require you to get a prescription first. When you’ve had unprotected sex and are looking to avoid getting pregnant, time is of the essence and trying to figure out how to get EC covered by your insurance sounds likes a bigger headache than it’s worth.

But the major problem with AfterPill is that it takes up to a week to ship to you, making it worthless as an actual emergency option. As the managing director of the company tells RH Reality Check, the idea is that you buy some their relatively inexpensive EC anticipating needing it someday and then have it on hand when you do. That’s obviously a great idea, but given that only 11 percent of women reported ever using EC at all between 2006 and 2011, it seems unlikely that many will–especially those who aren’t already aware of it.

I’m know that I’m part of a generation of Americans that’s been totally spoiled by Amazon’s ability to deliver super-human shipping speeds on the cheap through magic awful labor practices. But is it really too much to ask that an amazingly useful medication with the ability to prevent many unintended pregnacies if used right away be both affordable and quickly and easily accessible? If we were actually serious about ensuring reproductive rights, EC would be available both online and at your local drugstore and subsidized so it’s dirt cheap at both. Until then, I suppose I’ll see if some friends want to go in on an order of AfterPills together.

Maya DusenberyMaya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing.

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like Cosmopolitan.com, TheAtlantic.com, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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