As part of the Reproductive Justice Reporting Project announced this summer, AAN and the Media Consortium (TMC) have launched the website, Where is Your Plan B?, an investigation into the availability of Plan B emergency contraceptive.
In June, the FDA approved Plan B as an over-the-counter drug, making it available to all women of childbearing age without a prescription or point-of-sale restrictions. With a grant from the Quixote Foundation, ten news outlets from AAN and TMC went out to see how pharmacies were putting this into practice.
Are stores making the product available on the shelf or forcing customers to ask a pharmacist? Are stores putting it behind a locked cabinet, requiring assistance from a store employee? Are clerks asking for ID, even though the FDA does not require it? In other words, are stores turning what should be a personal, private health decision into an uncomfortable and unpleasant experience for women during what is already a stressful time?
Participating in this project to find answers are: Austin Chronicle, Bitch magazine, In These Times, LEO Weekly, Making Contact/ National Radio Project, Ms. magazine, People*Power*Media, Portland Mercury, Public News Service, and Santa Fe Reporter.
“We are so excited to partner with AAN on this collaboration,” said Media Consortium executive director Jo Ellen Kaiser. “While the Media Consortium has organized several of these collaborations before, the partnership with AAN gave our national outlets an opportunity to work with journalists on the ground in cities across the United States. The result has been richer, more compelling content.”
The website features a mix of articles, audio and video content from the participating outlets, as well as a resource section and form for users to report their individual experiences. The user-submitted data will be used to create a map showing the availability of Plan B across the country.
“This project is a perfect example of what alts do best â€” use their reporting muscle to shine light on an important topic that affects the lives of real people everyday,” said AAN executive director Tiffany Shackelford. “At a time when women’s reproductive rights are under attack in so many states, I’m proud that AAN members are part of this effort with the Media Consortium to inform the public and make an impact on the ground-level.”