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Tamil Nadu will finally have emergency contraceptive pills available over-the-counter. Here’s why it is an important step toward women’s health.
Emergency Contraceptive Pills were unofficially banned in Tamil Nadu for a really really long time. Despite the fact that The Union Ministry of Health and Welfare allows healthcare workers such as doctors, nurses, pharmacists, etc. to provide ECPs, they weren’t available in any pharmaceutical stores since 2005.
On 11th November, Archanaa Seker a Chennai-based activist and a few lawyers had sent an email representation to five state departments. This email stated the unavailability of ECPs in pharmacies.
The issue was brought into the notice of the Director of Drugs Control who instructed the officials to take immediate action. And the Drug Inspectors took prompt action and asked all the pharmacies to stock ECPs and sell them over the counter.
Emergency Contraceptive Pills are a form of birth control that can be used by women who have had unprotected sex. These are used to prevent pregnancy and not to end one. They delay ovulation and thus prevent a woman from becoming pregnant. ECPs do not protect against Sexually Transmitted Diseases or STDs.
ECPs are essential for women and their reproductive rights. It gives women autonomy over their body and aids them in cases of emergency. In the case of rape victims, ECPs have proved to be a boon, helping the survivor exercise liberty over their body and easing their trauma.
For women engaged in unprotected sex, ECPs are a progressive step ensuring safer sexual health for women. Undesired and unwanted pregnancy can be avoided by ECPs and feminists have been striving for a long time for it.
In India, women’s reproductive health is not just a medical issue but there is also a lot of ‘moral policing’ attached to it. As a country, we are still scornful towards sexually active women. Thus, selling ECPs over the counter is an important step, ensuring safer sexual practices and safer reproductive health.
While sexually active women can benefit from them, it is a significant step towards serving justice to the survivors of sexual assault and rape. ECPs aren’t abortion pills and hence they can only prevent pregnancy.
A progressive step that will ensure the safer sexual and mental health of women across Tamil Nadu is a welcome one.
Picture credits: Photo from Pexels
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Anamika is an English literature student with a strong inclination towards feminist literature, feminist literary
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