Emergency contraception or the ‘morning after pill’ is safe and legal in Ireland and does not require a prescription. It is available in many pharmacies in Ireland, under the names NorLevo and ellaOne. NorLevo is the brand name for the drug levonorgestrel, while ellaOne is the brand name for ulipristal acetate. Re(al)-Productive Health is working on making access to both drugs more consistent, less judgmental and more effective. Take a look at our campaign to see what we’re doing and how you can help!
If you need to access emergency contraception, here are some tips we hope you find helpful.
- Keep in mind that the term ‘morning after pill’ does not mean much. In fact – levonorgestrel (NorLevo) is effective up to 3 days after sex. If it’s any later (up for 5 days after sex), you can request EllaOne at your pharmacy instead. Remember though – the sooner you use any method, the better.
- Check out ‘Women Help Women’ if you wish to order an advanced provision of EC ; http://www.womenhelp.org
Check out our MAP template and see if you can spot pharmacies in your area which others have tried and tested. This could let you know if the drug is available, if it’s advertised and how much it will cost you.
- If you feel anxious about being refused the pill, then ring ahead to pharmacies you plan on asking and request to speak with the pharmacist; having that conversation over the phone could save time and energy and hopefully reduce the anxiety you might be experiencing.
- If you are told during this call that the drug is available, use this opportunity to ask how much it is. If the cost is out of your price range, ring around other pharmacies in the area and try to find one you can easier afford.
When you enter the pharmacy, ask to speak with the pharmacist. If you feel more comfortable ask to speak in private.
Many have had positive experiences in accessing the morning after pill. However, many have also written to Re(al)-Productive Health about their negative experiences during this consultation process (i.e. being asked private questions about ‘how it happened’ or being judged or mistreated). We feel that such questions are unnecessary and unfair. Here at Re(al)-Productive Health we want the best for people; access to a legal drug that they request. As such we do not want to negatively impact on anyone’s ultimate access to the drug.
However, remember that both NorLevo and ellaOne are legal and safe, you are entitled to it without a prescription. If the pharmacist conscientiously objects to giving you the pill she/he is required to refer you to another pharmacy. You are entitled to a high standard of medical care that does not discriminate against you or your lifestyle choices. You are entitled to truthful, dignified and respectful health care.
Many myths exist around the safety and physical experience of taking the morning after pill. It is important to bust these myths. For example, it is important to be aware that the pill is ‘safer than aspirin‘ to take (Grimes, 2002: 1536) (he specifically references NorLevo here) and there is no evidence to suggest that there is any limit on how many times someone can take it in their lifetime (Thinkcontraception.ie). There are some great websites which can help you understand what you might expect. Check them out in the links below.
Please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any more tips/experiences you’ve had. We’d love to hear from you.