The national pharmacy chain CVS said Tuesday it is lifting a purchase limit on the emergency contraceptive pill known as Plan B. The pill prevents ovulation or a fertilized egg from attaching to the womb and can be taken in the days after unprotected sex or after other birth control fails. It is available in all states without a prescription and can be purchased over the counter.
The company had limited customers to purchasing three boxes of the so-called morning-after pills at a time online and in stores in response to last week's Supreme Court ruling that overturned abortion as a constitutional right. It isn't the only drugstore chain to have implemented such a measure. Both Rite Aid and Walmart have also restricted the number of so-called abortion pills that people can buy at a time to help prevent a shortage.
Some stores keep Plan B One-Step (levonorgestrel) on the shelves for customers to purchase over-the-counter, and no ID is required. The pill is usually kept in the family planning sections, alongside items like condoms and spermicides. Many retailers place the pill in security packaging to prevent theft until it's paid for at the register.
Planned Parenthood says the morning-after pill is 75-89% effective in preventing pregnancy if taken within 72 hours after unprotected sex or as a backup to a birth control method that has failed. However, the pill doesn't work for everyone. It doesn't prevent ovulation for women who are already ovulating, and it may not be as effective in people with heavier body weights. It is also not recommended as a primary form of birth control.