Oregon has permitted the over the counter and unprescribed sale of Emergency Contraception (“EC”) since 2015. These medications require no prescription, consultation with a health care provider, or informed consent.
EC medications have no age restrictions, are effective within five days from the date of conception and are safe for use by the general public. EC pills may be obtained by minors without parental consent or notification.
Bridges will provide EC medications to clients and survivors, going forward. Bridges staff and facilities will follow the below policies and practices with regard to the maintenance and administration of EC.
Records and Maintenance of EC On-Site
Bridges facilities shall maintain a supply of ten (10) EC pills, in a locked and secured container, to be dispensed upon request. Every location will keep a log of EC pills dispensed, which shall include:
- The date on which a pill is dispensed
- The number of pills in the container, before and after the pill is dispensed
- The name of the staff member who dispensed the pill
To protect the privacy of survivors, this record SHALL NOT include any identifying information regarding the survivor to whom the pill was dispensed. These pills shall be restocked as necessary to ensure each facility always has at least five EC pills available.
Each location shall ensure at least one staff member is always available to administer EC to survivors and Bridges clients. These individuals shall have access to the key necessary to unlock the container in which the EC is kept, and shall be responsible for record-keeping, as above.
When EC pills are administered, staff shall follow established purchase and invoicing policies for the procurement of additional EC pills, and shall do so promptly and regularly, to ensure that ten such pills are available onsite whenever possible.
Privacy and Access
Because EC is safe for general use by the public, Bridges staff SHALL NOT require a signed release from a survivor to access EC. Bridges clients and survivors SHALL NOT be asked to provide any identifying information in order to access EC.
Bridges staff will note the availability of EC on-site when a client or survivor inquires directly, or when a client or survivor provides any indication or a potential unwanted pregnancy after recent intercourse or assault. Bridges staff will make no recommendations to a survivor beyond indicating the availability of EC on-site, and providing assurances that the survivor may access the medication anonymously and without notification to any third party.
Bridges staff and employees will prepare signage indicating the presence and availability of EC in the event survivors or clients of Bridges are unwilling or anxious to request access of their own volition.
Mandatory Reporting and Criminal Case Concerns
If an individual requests EC due to intercourse which involves some form of abuse or criminal conduct against them, Bridges staff shall protect the confidentiality of the client or survivor in accordance with established Oregon Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence practices. Certified advocates will maintain confidential information pursuant to Oregon Revised Statute 40.264.
Bridges staff will further maintain the privacy and confidentiality of clients and survivors regarding the administration and use of EC. They will do so regardless of whether a client or survivor wishes to report an assault to law enforcement. When a client or survivor wishes to inform law enforcement regarding abuse, staff will withhold and keep private the client or survivor’s use and request for EC.
This information SHALL NOT be disclosed except in the event that a client or survivor authorizes such disclosure, and Bridges staff SHALL NOT pressure or suggest or pressure clients or survivors to make such a disclosure.
Medical Information Concerning EC
Because EC is most effective within 72 hours of intercourse, and only effective within 5 days of intercourse, Bridges staff shall inform clients and survivors of this time limitation for its effective use.
Unless a staff member is certified by the state of Oregon to provide medical advice, Bridges staff SHALL NOT offer medical advice regarding the use of EC, beyond that EC is most effective within 72 hours of intercourse, is effective within five days of intercourse, and is approved for over-the-counter use.
Bridges staff shall be aware that EC has potential side effects, which may include: heavier or lighter than usual menstrual bleeding, spotting or bleeding between menstrual periods, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, tiredness, headache, dizziness, breast pain or tenderness.
However, these side effects are sufficiently uncommon and minor that the Food and Drug Administration has cleared EC products for over-the-counter sale and use without a prescription. Many other over-the-counter medicines have similar or more severe side effects, such as Tylenol or Aspirin.
Bridges staff shall be mindful of these potential side effects but will take extreme care not to offer medical advice. Bridges staff SHALL NOT emphasize these potential side effects in such a manner as to discourage a client or survivor from exercising their reproductive rights.