Emergency contraceptive weight limits facilitate medical fatphobia • The Tulane Hullabaloo

Jada Roth

one in nine sexually experienced women had to use emergency contraception. The most common form of emergency contraception is Plan B, but it was not designed to work for everyone.

Plan B has a weight limit of 155 pound sterling. If you weigh more than that, you can still take plan B, but it will be significantly less effective. In fact, if a woman’s BMI is more than 30, the pill completely stops working and can actually increase the risk of pregnancy.

This is of particular concern because the average weight of a woman in America is 170.6 pounds, which is well above this weight limit.

In 2010, a new pill, “she”, was introduced as another option. Although it is often advertised that it works for all weight categories, the fact that its effectiveness decreases if a woman exceeds 195 books is often overlooked.

Unlike Plan B, ella is not available over the counter. In order to get ella, you need to make an appointment with a doctor to have a prescription written for you. This adds cost and an extra step to acquiring emergency contraception, making it less discreet, more expensive without insurance, and less accessible.

If you weigh more 195 pounds, the best option available after unprotected sex is an IUD. This option adds another layer of conflict, in addition to cost and doctor visits, to obtaining emergency contraception: pain. Most often, the insertion of an intrauterine device, which can be very painfulis done without anesthesia, although anesthesia can now be administered in some clinics on request.

Overall, the IUD is the most efficient in preventing pregnancy after unprotected sex, followed by ella which is more effective than Plan B even in the weight class below 155 pounds. But, plan B is the most accessible, so it’s the option chosen by most people even though it might not be the best option for their situation.

The lack of accessible contraceptives for overweight and obese women often leaves them without reliable options if they find themselves victims of rape or sexual assault.

The medical field has carried this pattern of fatphobia against women in particular, often seeing treatments targeted at thinner women as a motivation for taller women to lose weight.

Male medical products, like Viagra, have no weight limits. Presumably if this were a man in need of emergency contraception, the need for, seeking and availability of a contraceptive for men of all weights would be greater because society accepts more taller men than taller women.

No one, regardless of size, race, sex or gender, should be denied the right and accessibility to medical care and options. The needs of one phenotype do not outweigh the needs of another.


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