In the US, women age 17 and over have the legal right to get emergency contraception — sometimes called Plan B or “the morning after pill — over the counter and without a prescription at their pharmacy.
However, according to a new roundtable report by the Native American Women’s Health Education Resource Center, this right is often denied to Native American women who use Indian Health Services to access healthcare. The report surveyed service providers on reservations across the nation and found women are often told they have to see a doctor or have a prescription to get EC. Some find that the pill isn’t in stock on their reservation.
This is especially alarming in light of the fact that 1 in 3 Native American women will be raped in their lifetime. Under current Indian Health Services policy, there isn’t even a consistent mechanism to provide survivors of rape and sexual assault the medication they need to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.
There’s a simple fix to this problem. Dr. Yvette Roubideaux, the Director of Indian Health Services, can issue a directive to all service providers that emergency contraception be made available on demand — without a prescription and without having to see a doctor — to any woman age 17 or over who asks for it.
Please sign this petition to ask Dr. Roubideaux to issue this directive and to alert the Department of Health and Human Services, which has oversight over her and IHS, to the situation. Native women deserve and demand equal access to basic reproductive health care!