Got Plan B? Essay Contest for Young Women!

Are you between the ages of 14 and 24 years old?

Do you know someone who is?

Pass it on: Pharmacy Access Partnership and RH Reality Check are pleased to announce our essay contest, open to young people 14-24 years of age. The theme? "Got Plan B? Why access to Plan B emergency contraception is important." The winning opinion piece will be published on RH Reality Check!

Need more information?

We're launching our contest today because it's Back Up Your Birth Control with Emergency Contraception (EC) Day – a day to shine a light on what emergency contraception is (sold as "Plan B"), how young women can access it and why they should. Young women deserve access to and information about all of their pregnancy prevention options.

Here are the facts about what Plan B emergency contraception is and what it isn't:

Plan B (also called the "morning-after" pill even though it's actually two pills taken 12 hours apart) is a safe and effective way to prevent pregnancy after you've had unprotected, unintended or unwanted sex. Plan B emergency contraception pills have the same hormones as regular birth control pills; Plan B EC is not the same as the "abortion pill" or RU-486 and does not cause an abortion of any kind – it is a form of birth control that you can use up to 5 days after unprotected sex.

How can you find Plan B?

If you are a woman over 18 years old, you can buy Plan B straight from a pharmacist without a prescription. For those of you under 18 years old you can get Plan B from a clinic, or a physician but you cannot purchase Plan B directly from a pharmacist without a prescription. Either way, you can get Plan B before you need it so you have it just in case.

There are challenges. Some pharmacists are refusing to fill prescriptions or even sell Plan B at all based on personal objections. Also, many young women can't afford the cost of Plan B or don't have insurance to cover it. And if you do have insurance or can scrape together the money, there is still the question of finding a provider or clinic that sells it.

We want to hear from you!

What do you think are the most important issues related to emergency contraception/Plan B for young women? Would you like to see greater education and access to information so more young women know what Plan B is and how to access it? Do you want to advocate for the right to access Plan B?

Whatever you're thinking, write it down and send it to us!

To enter, please submit a text-only essay of up to 200 words by April 25, 2008, to Please include your name, city and state, email and phone number (all personal information will remain confidential, this is for contact purposes only). For more information, visit Pharmacy Access Partnership.

*For suggestions on how to write an opinion piece, visit the Communications Consortium Media Center.

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

For more information or to schedule an interview with contact

  • invalid-0

    Well done Amie for providing a public platform for this open ‘survey’ to be supported. I use the word ‘survey’ as I believe that parents, schools, health care providers and governments need to LISTEN more to what young people want and how they feel re ‘growing up’ with sex education and birth control. Any opportunity for teenagers and young women to express how they feel and get help on this important topic should be encouraged- this way is non threatening- great.

    As we all know, you start talking about one topic and others creep in so writing about Plan B will hopefully raise a few other relevant issues with these young people and the dialogue may keep going at home, at school or at the doctors clinic.

    Every young person has issues around sex and the use of contraceptives, which are very personal to THEM,regardless of how ‘common’ those issues may be globally or generationally. If discovering and broadcasting their real views via a competition such as this one helps us to better tailor our parenting skills and curriculums to what future young parents and educators need NOW then I believe the ‘prize’ will be priceless and be ‘won’ by everyone.

    While it is important to keep up to date with the ‘latest findings’ from formal studies carried out on contraceptives, (especially the Pill and other hormonal types of birth control that affect developing bodies) let’s concentrate on the FINDINGS that are in our own backyards, homes and schools and keep up to date with those too!

  • invalid-0

    Amie – if you’re in favor of educating young people, please set an example by getting the facts straight and telling the truth. Biologically speaking, life begins at fertilization. One of the ways Plan B works is by preventing a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. Therefore Plan B is a form of chemical abortion. Please don’t misrepresent the product.

  • invalid-0

    While it is true that in addition to stopping the release of an egg or preventing fertilization of the egg, Plan B may work by preventing the fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus, this is still in no way an abortion and not one single mainstream medical organization has defined emergency contraception in this way – nor does the federal governmental agency, the FDA, define emergency contraception as a method of abortion.

    Your personal belief that life begins at conception has no connection to the medical definition of pregnancy or even, for that matter, to what the Bush administration's federal regulations have defined as pregnancy (beginning at implantation).

    Pregnancy occurs after a fertilized egg attaches to the uterine wall and begins to grow into an embryo. A woman's body expels many, many fertilized eggs before they can attach to the uterine wall (in fact almost half of all fertilized eggs are expelled)- this is not pregnancy and, at least, if you are going to advocate for a position please seed your position in medical fact:

    Plan B, therefore, does not cause an abortion and has no relation to medication abortion (there is no such thing as a "chemical abortion" – though that is another term created by antichoice activists who need to fabricate dramatic terminology in order to justify their false assumptions).

    If you personally believe that life begins when a sperm fertilizes an egg that's your choice. I'm not sure why you are so afraid of allowing young people to have access to the facts – especially the medical and scientific facts – that do not support your personal belief.

  • invalid-0

    For both US and non-US contest, I sugest
    This website lists upcoming contests that are open to people WORLDWIDE and DO NOT charge any entry fee to participate. Photo contests, writing contests, essay contests, idea contests, cartoon contests, art contests, design contests and lot more other exciting contests are listed here.

  • invalid-0

    Amie, thanks for clarifying. I’m not an American. In the public schools where I live, students are taught that life begins at fertilization (it’s not just my “personal belief”). I agree that the medical community defines pregnancy as beginning at implantation. Fertilization can occur in a test tube as well as within a woman’s body. Either way, preventing a new life from receiving the food and shelter it needs to survive equates to killing it. This is not the same as such a life failing to implant on its own, given the right conditions. And I’m not trying to centre out your product here- other types of “regular” birth control also prevent implantation. Many women aren’t aware of this because they don’t read the fine print, but it should be printed on the information sheets that come with the packaging of such products.