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IHS Providing Plan B to Native Women Age 17 and Over

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A recent AP report confirms the Indian Health Service has expanded access to emergency contraception. Indian Country Today Media Network reported on IHS issuing a verbal directive to facilities to dispense Plan B without a consultation or prescription in May.

IHS provided this official statement to ICTMN: "Emergency contraception is available in IHS federally-run facilities."

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In September, IHS responded to the AP: “I want to reassure you that we have taken this issue seriously, and the IHS has, on several occasions this year, confirmed access to FDA-approved emergency contraceptive products in all IHS federally operated facilities with pharmacies."

The IHS is reportedly finalizing a written policy.

But the emergency contraception pill is limited to patients age 17 and over. At mainstream facilities, any woman age 15 and older who asks for it can obtain emergency contraception over the counter.

“We’ve made some progress, and we have to acknowledge that, but there’s still more,” Charon Asetoyer, the executive director of the Native American Community Board, told the AP. “They’re still violating our rights to access by denying women who are age 16 and under. We have to ask, why are we being treated differently?”

IHS plans to lift age restrictions to obtain emergency contraception once the Food and Drug Administration approves new labels for the project.