The emergency contraception pill known as Plan B is now available to any female of any age on the Flathead Reservation. Tribal Health officials for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes announced on Monday that the over-the-counter drug will be provided at several locations on the reservation without a prescription.
This is in keeping with a federal policy finalized last year by the Indian Health Service, which requires all IHS facility pharmacies to make the Plan B One-Step emergency contraception pill easily available to tribal members.
"This is just one part of ensuring that Indian women have good healthcare overall."
That’s Anna Whiting Sorrell, operations, planning and policy director for Tribal Health on the Flathead Reservation.
Sorrell says in the past, access to emergency contraception was extremely complicated. In some cases, women were traveling off the reservation to Kalispell or Missoula to get it.
It will now be available to all women, including female victims of sexual assault, at the pharmacies of the Polson and St. Ignatius Health Centers, as well as the health centers in Hot Springs, Elmo, Salish Kootenai College, Ronan and Arlee.
Sorrell says anyone eligible for IHS benefits will receive the pill at no personal cost. Demand for the pill and the cost of providing it is still unknown.