Tippecanoe County Health Department now offers free Plan B
People can now get the emergency contraceptive pill Plan B for free at the Tippecanoe County Health Department. This comes after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced changes to the pill’s package to clarify it is not an abortion bill.
The FDA announcement explains the Plan B-One Step pill works by preventing an egg from being released by an ovary. If an egg has already been fertilized, Plan B will not work.
Tippecanoe County Health Officer Dr. Greg Loomis said it is important to know the difference between Plan B and the abortion pills mifepristone and misoprostol.
“Plan B will do nothing to stop the implantation or the growth of the egg into a child,” Loomis said. “So it is not an abortion pill. All it does is the same thing a women's birth control pill does, which is to trick the body into thinking the woman is pregnant so she will not ovulate.”
Mifepristone works by blocking the hormone progesterone, which causes the pregnancy to stop growing. Misoprostol causes cramping and bleeding to empty the uterus.
Loomis said the overturn of Roe V. Wade last June made it even harder for women to access reproductive health care. This is one way to remove a barrier.
“We are trying to provide services that allow once again women to have a judgment-free, voluntary decision over their own sexual health and over their reproductive rights,” Loomis said.
To access the free pill, patients need to first take an STI test at the Tippecanoe County Health Department’s Sexually Transmitted Infections Division in Lafayette.
The division also provides free condoms and sexual health counseling.
Paige Logan, a disease intervention specialist with the Tippecanoe County Health Department, said while there is not currently a limit on how many times someone can access Plan B through the health department, supplies are limited.
Logan said some patients who seek Plan B emergency contraceptives would benefit from getting set up with regular contraception.
“At that point, we make a plan — we call them risk reduction plans,” Logan said. “What can you do to lessen your risk – lessen your risk of getting pregnant, lessen your risk of like acquiring HIV, lessen your risk of acquiring an STD?”
The division takes walk-ins Wednesdays from 1 to 6 p.m. and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 1950 S 18th St. in Lafayette.