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We Shouldn’t Limit Access to Emergency Contraception

Restriction to emergency contraception sends a message that we don’t trust young people to make their own decisions about reproductive health

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As a nursing student with a background in reproductive health, I want to applaud TIME for publishing an article that exposes the public to issues of access with emergency contraception (EC). We’ve made great strides to increase access to EC by lowering the age limit for over-the-counter use and taking it out from behind pharmacy counters. But there shouldn’t be age restrictions at all. People younger than 15 are having sex. In California, minors under 15 can access reproductive health services without parental consent. If they are trusted to make decisions about their own reproductive health care, then they should be trusted to decide if they want to take EC, especially when the effectiveness of this medication is time sensitive. EC’s safety record should allow any sexually active person to purchase it anonymously off the shelf, just like condoms. Restriction on access sends a message that we don’t trust young people to make decisions for themselves when it comes to their reproductive health.

Hannah Bronsky Pena, Walnut Creek, Ca