The decade's most triggering comedy
After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade — the 1973 opinion which argued that the Constitution guarantees the right to an abortion — surgical centers carrying out the procedure closed their doors in many conservative-leaning states. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, retailers are now restricting the sale of over-the-counter contraceptives.
Walmart had “some pills available without limits, but only in cases where they wouldn’t ship until next month” and will be limiting sales to “four or six” at a time, the outlet reported. CVS is “limiting purchases to three” in an effort to ensure “equitable access.”
Plan B stops the release of an egg from the ovary, prevents the union of sperm and egg, and sometimes prevents fertilized eggs from implanting in the womb, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“The pills, which are available without a prescription, are often referred to and sold under the Plan B brand,” The Wall Street Journal explained. “Also called morning-after pills, they are designed to be taken up to three days after unprotected sex.”
Plan B and similar products typically sell from $10 to $50. The “cheapest option available” from major retailers’ websites was $35 on Monday, according to the outlet.
Despite the closure of abortion clinics in many parts of the country, medication is now used for 54% of all abortions in the United States, according to the Guttmacher Institute — a substantial increase from 39% of abortions in 2017. The FDA authorizes a series of two drugs — mifepristone and misoprostol — to abort babies through ten weeks of gestation. Louisiana passed legislation earlier this month that would impose fines and jail sentences for those who mail abortion pills.
“Medication abortion can be completed outside of a medical setting — for example, in the comfort and privacy of one’s home,” the Guttmacher Institute said. “Pills can be provided at a clinic or delivered directly to a patient through the mail… in areas of the country that are rural or underserved by providers, medication abortion can save a patient hundreds of miles of travel.”
As several major corporations announced that they would cover employees’ abortion-related interstate travel expenses through their health benefits packages, calls mounted for Walmart — which employs 1.6 million Americans — to follow suit. Worker advocacy group United for Respect said that the firm must “step up and ensure its associates are supported.”
“As the largest private employer in the nation, Walmart executives can set the standard for other companies by supporting their associates and providing adequate maternity leave, paid sick leave, and covering the cost of expenses for associates who need to travel across the state lines to access abortion services,” the group said on Friday, according to CBS News.
Earlier this month, Walmart shareholders overwhelmingly struck down a proposal from activist investors to create a report evaluating the possible effect of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. The proposal would have compelled Walmart’s board of directors to examine “any known and any potential risks and costs to the company caused by enacted or proposed state policies severely restricting reproductive rights.”