What to know about access to Plan B emergency contraception in Indiana

·3 min read

Though the Supreme Court on Friday ended the constitutional right to an abortion as established 50 years ago in Roe v. Wade, those wishing to prevent a pregnancy can still access emergency contraception, commonly known as "morning-after" pills.

Indiana does not have any laws on the books that mention emergency contraception. Only 21 states do, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and most of these laws expand access, such as requiring health care facilities to provide information about emergency contraception to victims of sexual assault.

Indiana also does not have a law allowing pharmacists to deny filling a prescription for emergency contraception based on personal objections, known as "conscience clauses."

Read: How access to abortions has changed in Indiana since Roe v. Wade

In other words, based on today's legal landscape, emergency contraception is available to all Hoosiers of reproductive age.

What is Plan B?

Plan B is just one form of emergency contraception, but the most widely known because of its availability as an over-the-counter pill.

There are four types of emergency contraception approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration that can be used within five days of unprotected sex: an intrauterine device, two "morning-after" pills, and regular birth control. (Talk to your doctor first before using regular birth control as an emergency contraceptive.)

Read: More questions about Plan B, from insurance coverage to how it works

The non-hormonal pill, Ella, is only available by prescription. Hormone-based pills like Plan B One-Step, or other generic brands of levonorgestrel, are available for all ages over the counter.

These pills are available at your local drug stores and health clinics.

What Indiana law says about emergency contraception

Indiana law says pharmacists have a "duty to honor all prescriptions," so long as the "prescription has been issued in compliance with the laws of the state where it originated."

Pharmacists can refuse to fill a prescription only if they believe filling it would be "contrary to law," "against the best interest of the patient," aiding "an addiction or habit," or "contrary to the health and safety of the patient," Indiana Code says.

Consumers can file complaints with the Indiana Attorney General's office if they feel this statute has been violated.

Eleven states have "conscience clauses" spelling out a right to refuse to perform certain services based on personal values, according to a 2021 review of state pharmacy laws published in the journal Hospital Pharmacy. That's nearly double the number of states that had them when the journal last published a review in 2006. Indiana is not one of them.

Indiana law does not mention, expand or retract access to emergency contraception.

Now that Roe v. Wade is overturned, what could happen next?

"Conscience clauses" or "refusal clauses" first cropped up in response to the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, according to the NCSL.

Though access to emergency contraception remains unchanged, many across the country worry that the new ruling on abortion makes that access more vulnerable, USA TODAY reported.

The right to privacy "evolved out of a right to contraception access. And from that we got a whole slew of sexual privacy rights," Anthony Michael Kreis, a law professor at Georgia State University College of Law, told USA TODAY in May.

Indiana lawmakers are convening a special session of the General Assembly beginning July 6 to discuss inflation relief measures. Friday, Gov. Eric Holcomb said he expected legislators would also discuss abortion.

Read: Indiana poised to limit abortion access after Supreme Court ruling

State lawmakers are clear on their intention to issue abortion access restrictions, without specifying whether they will allow for exceptions for rape, incest or health of the pregnant person.

Contact IndyStar transportation reporter Kayla Dwyer at kdwyer@indystar.com or follow her on Twitter @kayla_dwyer17.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Plan B in Indiana: What to know about the emergency contraception