Illegal online contraceptive pharmacies are booming in post-Roe America

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While abortion is no longer a federally guarded American right, contraception – albeit weak – still is.

The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the legalization of abortion Roe v. calf But the precedent now threatens access to contraception across the country, particularly in areas where access to family planning services was already difficult. Consequently, according to new reporting from Vice Newsmany Americans are turning to illegal, unregulated online pharmacies, most of which are littered with counterfeit — and likely ineffective, or even dangerous — contraceptives.

There is a long history of anti-abortion politicians limiting the number of clinics offering contraception in their states. Some states even give individual doctors and pharmacies the right to refuse contraception to patients on religious grounds. And according to the Vice According to reports, around 19 million American women currently live in contraceptive deserts, or regions where access to contraceptive and reproductive health care is unsustainably scarce.

“Growing up in [Harlan, Kentucky], I lived 45 minutes from the nearest gynecologist and the nearest hospital. So if my mother hadn’t taken me, I wouldn’t have been able to get contraceptives,” said a young woman living in one of those areas Vice. “I would say the biggest challenge for me was the distance.”

In the wake of roeIn the wake of the state’s demise, some states have already taken steps to limit contraceptive access even further, and widespread fear that the Supreme Court will soon place contraception entirely in the state’s hands is palpable. In the days after roe After the decision, pharmacies began restricting Plan B purchases as people immediately flocked to vendors to buy and stockpile the morning-after pills. said Diana Contreras, Planned Parenthood’s chief healthcare officer Vice that preliminary data from shortly after roe Reversal showed that the average number of birth control questions received by the organization’s sexual health counseling chatbot doubled compared to previous data.

On the face of it, online pharmacies offer a way to counteract the issues of physical distancing, over-regulation of contraceptives, and the refusal of individuals or companies to offer or adopt contraceptives. But of the 35,000 or so of these digital vendors that have grown so fast the FDA can’t keep up, Vice reports that around 96 percent are “operating illegally”.

And while these surgeries appear at face value, they could offer hope to millions who don’t have, or will soon have, contraceptive access, a a lot of Of the medicines these places stock are fake counterfeits, which can be ineffective at best and dangerous at worst – after all, the manufacturing process of any counterfeit is unregulated, posing an obvious risk to the consumer.

“Consumers may turn to online pharmacies for reasons of convenience, privacy, and cost savings,” states the FDA’s BeSafeRX website, which warns consumers of the risks of online pharmacies, “however, some websites sell drugs that are dangerous or even deadly.”

“Unsafe online pharmacies are often operated by criminal networks,” continues the FDA’s BeSafeRX campaign, “who knowingly and unlawfully sell potentially unsafe, ineffective, or counterfeit drugs to consumers in the United States.”

It’s also worth noting that online pharmacies that don’t offer significant patient protections likely do little to protect user data from the prying eyes of the police — and neither do they to Darkness and doom, but with Facebook already hunched over to law enforcement over abortion-criminalizing data, it doesn’t feel too high to contemplate if and how the same practice might one day be applied to contraceptive-related data, should various birth control needs be required would reach a certain level of criminalization.

As it probably goes without saying, this is all incredibly dark. It’s appalling that the right to contraception could lie at the federal level, especially when limiting access to contraception would likely lead to more unwanted pregnancies — and even if contraception remains a federally protected right, no one should have to rely on unregulated online pharmacies to get their hands on the care they need.

CONTINUE READING: Desperate people turn to illegal online pharmacies for contraception [Vice News]

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