tl;dr, Stay ready so you don’t have to get ready.
When it comes to sexual and reproductive health, we know how important it is to be prepared. As a health care provider and educator, Planned Parenthood helps millions prioritize their health through numerous services — including preventive care, abortion, and telehealth services — and our education experts help people and families navigate life’s big moments.
We also know how scary facing unforeseen circumstances can be. So this Halloween, we want to make sure you’re prepared for anything. And we mean anything.
Inspired by CONPLAN 8888-11, or “Counter-Zombie Dominance” – a very-real government contingency plan created to guide military responses during a zombie apocalypse – we wanted to know what sexual and reproductive health resources our experts would cling to during a zombie apocalypse.
Unlike zombies, the living still need reproductive health care, even when faced with an army of staggering, flesh-hungry fiends.
So, to help us ring in Spooky season, we asked a few of our savvy sexual and reproductive health experts to tell us:
What’s in your emergency sexual and reproductive health zombie apocalypse toolkit?
Meera Shah, MD, MPH, MS (she/her), Chief Medical Officer at Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic
First and foremost, I’d have to bring a Liletta IUD along with me. It’s great because it can act as emergency contraception. Plus, I could continue to use it as birth control for up to 8 years, and who knows how long this zombie apocalypse will last…? Other important perks: lighter periods, and it could even go away altogether! Can you say “convenient?!”
Now, just in case I need emergency contraception and am not in a place where I can insert my Liletta IUD in time, I’d have Ella as a backup. I love that Ella can be used for up to 5 days after unprotected sex, so I’d feel very secure having Ella around.
Last but absolutely not least, I’d have mifepristone and misoprostol on deck, just in case my contraception fails and I need to have an abortion.
Makina Table, MPH (she/her), manager of National Office learning design at Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Three items? That’s easy.
- A massive bottle of probiotics - Some zombie apocalypse shall not wreak havoc on MY vaginal biome. Nope!
- The piece of clothing that makes me feel most sexy - In an apocalypse, I might need a reminder that I'm still a baddie!
- A machete - Because bodily autonomy is also part of my sexual and reproductive health :)
Silvia Beltran, MPH (she/ella), associate director of bilingual learning at Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Well, I would definitely have in my kit:
- A few menstrual cups - If I’m going to be fighting zombies, I won’t have time to change tampons or pads. And there might be a shortage of these products anyway. Most menstrual cups are reusable and some can be used for up to 12 hours straight. Less time worrying about my period = more time surviving!
- A good water-based or silicone-based lube - Just because we’re running from zombies that want to eat our brains doesn’t mean we have to have uncomfortable or painful sex. Also, these types of lubes can safely be used with condoms (which I’d also love to squeeze into my emergency kit since they don't take up a lot of space)!
- A smart phone to access PlannedParenthood.org - This way, if anyone in my survivors group has a question about sexual or reproductive health, we’ll have all the accurate info we need on hand. (And could I also slide a solar battery in there to charge my phone?...)
Krishna Upadhya, MD, MPH (she/her), vice president of quality care and health equity at Planned Parenthood Federation of America
The spookiest thing that has happened to my sexual and reproductive health in real life was being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019. Fortunately I am now cancer-free, but my treatment resulted in early menopause.
So for my emergency sexual and reproductive health toolkit, I’d start with two items related to managing that:
- The non-hormonal medication I take to try to reduce hot flashes and sleep disturbances, and
- Water-based lubricant because, you know... (Just in case you don’t know, dryness is a symptom of menopause.)
The third thing I would include is a pack of condoms because I’m an adolescent medicine doctor at my core and I never know when I might be called upon to support someone with effective contraception and STI protection!
Ambreen Molitor (she/her), national director of innovation at Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Fair warning: My zombie apocalypse toolkit 100% reflects my passion for PPFA’s digital products. With that said, my emergency kit would have to include:
- Spot On - That way I can track EVERYTHING I possibly can. In a zombie apocalypse, I need to be able to proactively self-diagnose and learn as much as possible from the resources section in the app. Planning and prevention are key.
- Access to Chat/Text as a backup - I’d love to be able to get some help from a live educator and hopefully even have someone talk me through a zombie escape plan???
- A boat-load of condoms - Birth control and STI prevention in one!
Danika Severino Wynn, CNM (she/her), vice president of abortion access at Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Let’s be honest: unintended pregnancy during a zombie apocalypse seems especially problematic! So my first emergency item would have to be emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy in case there are any slip ups! And as my last two, I’d definitely pack mifepristone and misoprostol in case I — or any of the other people I’m lucky enough to be stuck with during this dreaded zombie event — need abortion care. Medication abortion for the win!