Can I still go to Planned Parenthood for health care during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Planned Parenthood health centers across the country are working hard to adjust to the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. We know your sexual and reproductive health care can't wait. We’re here with you. And we're doing everything we can to get you the services and information you need — whether we provide care by phone, video, online, or in person.
Many Planned Parenthood health centers are open and able to provide services, with precautions in place to protect the health and safety of patients and staff. Some Planned Parenthood health centers have had to reduce hours or suspend walk-in appointments. And some Planned Parenthood health centers have made the difficult decision to close during this time and refer patients to other locations or health care providers.
Health center hours and the services they provide will vary depending on the location and the laws in your area, and may change as the COVID-19 pandemic develops. So the best thing to do is call your local Planned Parenthood for the most up-to-date information on what’s available near you.
Many Planned Parenthood health centers offer sexual and reproductive health care services through telehealth — reaching patients online or over the phone to provide services like birth control, STD testing, and gender-affirming hormone therapy. We’re working as quickly as possible to expand our telehealth services, including services in Spanish, so that more patients will be able to access the health care services they need without physically going to a health center.
How can I get birth control during the COVID-19 pandemic?
There are many different methods of birth control. Some have to be put in place by a nurse or doctor — like the IUD or implant. Some require a prescription from a nurse, doctor, or pharmacist — like the pill, patch, ring, and shot. And some are sold over-the-counter at drugstores, grocery stores, and online — like condoms, spermicide, and the morning-after pill (aka emergency contraception).
Right now, the options available to you may vary depending on whether health care providers in your area are open. For example, you might not be able to get an IUD or implant if the health center is closed for in-person visits. But you may be able to get a prescription for the birth control pill, patch, or ring online or over the phone. Call your doctor or nurse for more information.
Planned Parenthood is doing everything we can to get you the services you need. Check your local Planned Parenthood health center. You may be able to get birth control, either in person or by using telehealth — where you get services through a phone call or video visit.
What do I do if I need a birth control refill, or if my method is about to expire?
The birth control pill, patch, and ring:
Call your nurse or doctor to see if they can send a refill prescription for the pill, patch, or ring straight to your local drugstore. Or you might be able to have your birth control mailed to you through your doctor’s office or health insurance. You can ask if you can get a few extra months’ supply of your method so you can stock up ahead of time.
Your local Planned Parenthood health center may also be able to help you get a birth control prescription or refill. And depending on the state you live in, you may be able to get the pill, patch, or ring online through the Planned Parenthood Direct app.
If you can’t get birth control from a doctor or nurse, some states also allow pharmacists to prescribe birth control. If you live in California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Maryland, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, or West Virginia, you can call your local pharmacist to see if you can get a prescription for birth control. Birthcontrolpharmacies.com also has a handy map to help you locate many of the pharmacies that can prescribe birth control
The birth control shot:
You may be able to get your next scheduled birth control shot at your local Planned Parenthood health center, walk-in clinic, or pharmacy, if you can’t get it on time from your usual nurse or doctor. You might even be able to get a prescription for a birth control shot that you can give yourself at home.
If you can’t get your birth control shot within 15 weeks of your last shot, use a backup method of birth control (like condoms) until you can get your next shot. You can also use over-the-counter emergency contraception (aka the morning-after pill) if your shot expired and you had unprotected sex within the last 5 days.
The birth control implant and IUD:
If you’re using a long-term method of birth control — like the IUD or implant — and you’re worried that your method expires soon, you may have more time left than you think. Research shows that some of these methods work to prevent pregnancy longer than experts once thought:
Nexplanon (birth control arm implant): Up to 5 years
Paragard IUD (non-hormonal/copper IUD): Up to 12 years
Mirena IUD: Up to 7 years
Liletta IUD: Up to 7 years
Kyleena IUD: Up to 5 years
Skyla IUD: Up to 3 years
If your implant or IUD will expire soon, call the nurse or doctor who placed it to ask about getting a replacement. You may also be able to get a replacement at your local Planned Parenthood health center. If you can’t get your implant or IUD replaced by the time it expires, use a backup method of birth control such as condoms.
What can I do if I can’t get my prescription birth control method during the COVID-19 pandemic?
There are still ways to prevent pregnancy if you can’t get your prescription birth control method during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can use a method that you buy over-the-counter, like condoms. (Bonus: condoms will help protect you and your partner from STDs, too.) You can get condoms at most drugstores, pharmacies, grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations, superstores, and online. If you use condoms along with another birth control method — like spermicide or withdrawal (aka pulling out) — you’ll get extra protection from pregnancy.
If you make a birth control mistake or have unprotected sex, you can use emergency contraception (aka the morning-after pill) to help prevent pregnancy. You don’t need a prescription to get Plan B and other generic brands of emergency contraception pills. Anybody — no matter your age or gender — can buy emergency contraception pills at pharmacies, drugstores, and online, without having to visit a doctor’s office or health center first.
You can use emergency contraception up to 5 days after you have unprotected sex. But most kinds work better the sooner you take them. So it’s a good idea to buy emergency contraception before you need it, so you can take it as soon as possible if the time comes. Emergency contraception is NOT the same thing as the abortion pill, and it won’t harm a pregnancy if you’re already pregnant.
Your weight can affect how well emergency contraception works. Levonorgestrel pills, like Plan B and other over-the-counter brands, may not work if you weigh 155 pounds or more. There is another type of morning-after pill, called ella, that’s more effective than other morning-after pills and works for people who weigh 155 pounds or more. But you need a prescription to get ella, and ella may not work as well if you weigh 195 pounds or more. If you have questions about emergency contraception and weight, talk to your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist, and make sure to read all of the information that comes in the package. Learn more about emergency contraception.
Can I still get an abortion during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Abortion is still legal in all 50 states in the U.S. Abortion care is time-sensitive and essential, and nurses and doctors are doing the best they can to continue to provide abortions. If you’re trying to schedule an abortion, our Abortion Care Finder can help you find your closest provider — give them a call to make an appointment or for more information.
Many Planned Parenthood health centers and other abortion providers are still open and offering services at this time. But this situation is changing every day as the COVID-19 pandemic develops. So the best thing to do is call your local Planned Parenthood health center or other abortion provider for the most up-to-date information