Major US pharmacies have begun rationing the morning-after pill in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the nationwide right to abortion.
The CVS and Rite Aid chains said they would limit sales to three per customer in order to avoid a shortage.
In a statement, CVS said it had “ample supply” of the Plan B and Aftera products, but was acting as demand increased.
Last week, the court overturned Roe v Wade, the 1973 decision that abortion was protected by the constitution.
Individual states can now decide their own laws, and around half are expected to ban or severely restrict abortion.
In the days after the ruling, there was a spike in demand for over-the-counter morning-after pills.
One producer of morning-after pills said demand surged by 600 per cent in the 24 hours after the decision.
A spokesman for CVS said: “To ensure equitable access and consistent supply on store shelves, we’ve implemented a temporary purchase limit of three boxes on these products.”
Walgreens, another major US chain, said it had no plans “at this time” to restrict sales.
Amazon.com also placed a temporary purchase limit of three units per week on emergency contraceptive pills, the company said on Tuesday.
‘Worried pill might not be available next’
Chrissy Bowen, 51, in Texas, told the New York Times she immediately began buying morning-after pills, including for her high school and university-aged children.
She told the newspaper: “They’re to let their friends know that we have the pills and if one gets used, we need to replace it with a new one. I didn’t become a crazy buyer hoarding hundreds of pills, and I’m not trying to supply contraception to the whole town.
“I’m doing this because now abortion won’t be available, and I’m worried that this sort of contraception soon won’t be either.”
Planned Parenthood, the abortion provider, has urged against stockpiling morning-after pills.
Right to use contraception should be reconsidered
Some of those buying up pills were spurred to do so by comments from Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas.
In a separate opinion to the rest of the court Justice Thomas suggested the decades-old legal precedent establishing the right to use contraception should be reconsidered.
Hillary Clinton, who went to law college with Justice Thomas, attacked her former classmate.
Mrs Clinton said: “I went to law school with him. He’s been a person of grievance for as long as I’ve known him – resentment, grievance, anger.
“I don’t care what political party or religion you are, the question is who decides. Is the government going to be in your bedroom? Is the government going to be making these decisions? I think our country’s really on the precipice.”
She added: “Women are going to die. I was deeply sorry that it [the ruling] actually happened. But now that it has happened, I think everybody understands this is not necessarily the only effort that we’re going to see this court undertake to turn back the clock on civil rights.”
Senator Elizabeth Warren and congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, two leading left-wing Democrats, urged Joe Biden to use federal government property or land as a safe haven for abortions in states that ban it.
However, the White House indicated it would not pursue the idea because it could still lead to prosecutions of those working at clinics on federal grounds.
Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, said: “We understand the proposal is well-intentioned, but here’s the thing – it could actually put women and providers at risk.
“Women and providers who are not federal employees could potentially be prosecuted. There’s actually dangerous ramifications to doing this.”
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