Emergency Pill Free on 'Free EC Day'

"Emergency contraception is your second chance to prevent pregnancy if the condom breaks, you miss two or more birth control pills, have been raped, or have unprotected sex," Cullins said. "Every woman deserves every chance to prevent unintended pregnancy."

And today is a day when every woman will have that chance for free.

"This is a red letter day for women," said Rafat Abbasi, an OB-GYN from Washington, D.C.

Women Taking Control

Doctors suggest that EC day, and contraception in general, "is a great opportunity for women to take control of their own fertility," Abbasi said.

Before August, the morning after pill was only available by prescription.

The FDA's decision to allow women older than 18 to get the morning after pill without a prescription was long awaited by many health experts.

Dr. David Archer, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at East Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Va., said at the time of the FDA ruling, "It's about time."

"Instead of prescribing a prescription for Plan B as a 'life preserver' to be kept on hand for emergencies, women will now be able to walk into the pharmacy and request what they need without having to make the extra stop," Archer said.

Today, women can walk into a Planned Parenthood clinic and get the drug for free.

After EC day is over -- or once supplies run out -- women of all ages can continue to get EC at Planned Parenthood health centers, or at the pharmacy, where they can also talk with health-care professionals about their sexual health and birth control needs.

But, they'll have to pay for it.

Although the landmark FDA decision that allows EC to be sold without a prescription to women 18 and older has made the pill more available, that decision hasn't quelled the explosive debate that surrounds it.

Arguments still rage over whether the approved regulations go far enough in giving women access to the pill and whether the pill is contraception or a very early abortion.

Proponents of the idea argued that over-the-counter availability would reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies and abortions, and give young women more control over their bodies.

Conservatives have argued in the past that EC might lead to a rise in sexually transmitted diseases and teenage promiscuity. Scientific studies have suggested that EC does not increase teenage promiscuity, and does not increase the prevalence of STDs.

While the arguments rage on, officials from Planned Parenthood hope that EC day will give a lot of young women the chance to play an active role in their sexual health.

Check out a list of Participating Planned Parenthood Affiliates here:

   Planned Parenthood of Alaska

   Planned Parenthood of Alabama

   Planned Parenthood of Pasadena, Calif.

   Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (Colorado, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, and Wyoming)

   Planned Parenthood of Connecticut

   Planned Parenthood of Delaware

   Planned Parenthood of Collier County in Naples, Fla.

   Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando, Fla.

   Planned Parenthood of Greater Miami, Palm Beach & Treasure Coast, Fla.

   Planned Parenthood of South Palm Beach and Broward County in Florida.

   Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida (Sarasota, Fla.)

   Planned Parenthood of Georgia

   Planned Parenthood of East Central Iowa (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)

   Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa (Des Moines, Iowa)

   Planned Parenthood of Decatur, Ill.

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