June 29, 2022 – Amazon and some large drugstore chains such as Rite Aid began limiting purchases of emergency contraception this week.

Demand increased for the pills after the Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade case that protected abortion. After the decision on Friday, sales of emergency contraception pills increased, according to CNN.

Amazon and Rite Aid have a temporary limit of three units per week.

“Due to increased demand, at this time we are limiting purchases of Plan B contraceptive pills to three per customer,” Alicja Wojczyk, senior manager of external communications for Rite Aid, told CNN.

Walmart has also capped purchases for the time being, according to Axios.

“Many of our products have online purchase limits in place,” the company told Axios. “During times of fluctuating demand, these limits may change.”

CVS told news outlets that it had an “ample supply” of Plan B and Aftera – two types of emergency contraception – but was limiting purchases on Monday to three per customer to “ensure equitable access and consistent supply on store shelves.” The purchase limits were lifted on Tuesday.

“Immediately following the Supreme Court decision, we saw a sharp increase in the sale of emergency contraceptives and implemented a temporary purchase limit to ensure equitable access,” Matt Blanchette, senior manager of retail communications for CVS Pharmacy, told CNN.

“Sales have since stabilized and we’re in the process of removing the purchase limits, which will take effect in-store and on CVS.com over the next 24 hours,” he said. “We continue to have ample supply of emergency contraceptives to meet customer needs.”

Walgreens temporarily sold out of Plan B for shipping on Tuesday but had enough available for shipping again on Wednesday morning, Axios reported. Walgreens doesn’t have purchase limits in place.

After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, women began stocking up on emergency contraception due to concerns about access to reproductive health care, according to The New York Times. People have expressed concerns that other 14th Amendment protections, such as access to contraceptives, could also be affected in future court cases.

Emergency contraception pills reduce the chance of pregnancy after unprotected sex, according to educational information from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

“Using EC [emergency contraception] does not cause an abortion,” the group wrote. “An abortion ends an existing pregnancy. EC prevents pregnancy from occurring. EC must be used soon after unprotected sexual intercourse to be effective. It does not work if pregnancy has already occurred.”

Emergency contraception pills, such as Plan B and Aftera, are one type of emergency contraception, CNN reported. Some can be bought over the counter, while others require a prescription. Some intrauterine devices, or IUDs, can also be used as emergency contraception if inserted within a few days after intercourse.

Medication abortion pills, known as misoprostol and mifepristone and commonly called Plan C, require a prescription and can be used within the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.

Show Sources

CNN: “Amazon and Rite Aid limiting purchases of emergency contraception.”

Axios: “Amazon, Walmart, Rite Aid limit Plan B ‘morning after pill’ purchases.”

The New York Times: “Women on Why They’re Stocking Up on the Morning-After Pill.”

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: “Emergency Contraception: Frequently Asked Questions.”

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