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A new study from NARAL, an abortion rights organization shows that emergency contraception is not widely available in Missouri pharmacies. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.
The survey consisted of telephone calls to 920 pharmacies in which callers asked whether the pharmacy stocked emergency contraception. If the answer was no, callers asked if the pharmacy could order it. If the answer was no again, callers asked if the pharmacy could refer them to a place where they could get the medication.
Melissa Kimball is Access Project Coordinator for NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri and oversaw the survey.
Kimball says women may take emergency contraception, often called the morning after pill within 120 hours of having unprotected sex.
She says it may prevent ovulation, fertilization or implantation.
It's the implantation issue that causes concern for anti-abortion groups like Missouri Right to Life.
Patty Skain is the group's executive director.
Abortion rights dispute the notion that the morning after pill causes abortions.
They say it's a safe form of birth control and can actually prevent surgical abortions.
Melissa Kimball with the abortion rights group NARAL says the recent survey shows that pharmacists often don't know don't the difference between the morning after pill R-U 486, the so-called abortion pill.
Whether surgical or chemical-induced, anti-abortion groups say an abortion occurs when a fertilized embryo is prevented from developing and that's why they oppose the morning after pill.
Right now, the morning after pill is available only with a prescription but the Food and Drug Administration is considering a change that will make it available over the counter.
In light of its recent survery, NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri plans to make a guide available to the public that outlines which pharmacies stock the morning after pill.
The group is also sending letters to pharmacies across the state informing them of the recent survey and the results.