A recent comment from a visitor prompted this blogger to wonder–how accessible is emergency contraception in Minnesota, anyway?
The short (and uninformative) answer is, it depends. For women and their partners who are 17 and older, emergency contraceptive (commonly known as “the morning after pill,” branded as “Plan B” or “Next Choice”) is available over-the-counter. Women can go directly to their pharmacist for purchase, but should be prepared to show ID.* A map of Minnesota pharmacies that provide EC, searchable by zip code, is available here (call ahead to confirm stock): http://www.ecminnesota.org/
Women under the age of 17 can get EC with a prescription from a healthcare provider, thanks to a March 2009 federal ruling. For a searchable list of clinics that will provide prescriptions for EC, click here: http://eclocator.not-2-late.com/search.asp.
Minnesota state law does not require clinics to notify parents when their child requests emergency contraception, so women under the age of 17 should be sure to call ahead to determine a) if clinics prefer parental notification and b) if an appointment is necessary. Many clinics may call in a prescription to a local pharmacy without a visit.
If an appointment is necessary, minors who are concerned about confidentiality should pay in cash rather than use their family’s health insurance.
Publicly-funded Title X clinics will ensure patient confidentiality and also provide sliding scale services (both for EC, other birth control prescriptions, and additional services including pregnancy option counseling). For a directory of Title X clinics (searchable by zip code), click here: http://nfprha.org/main/about_us.cfm?Category=Member_Clinic_Directory&Section=Main
*Undocumented individuals here in Minnesota still stuggle to receive equal reproductive care — the subject for another blog post.