Fact Check: Tennessee, Missouri Are NOT Banning Plan B, Other Emergency Contraceptive Pills

Fact Check

  • by: Lead Stories Staff
Fact Check: Tennessee, Missouri Are NOT Banning Plan B, Other Emergency Contraceptive Pills Plan B ≠ Abort

Did Tennessee and Missouri ban Plan B and other emergency contraceptive pills? No, that's not true: These states are not banning Plan B and other morning-after pills at the time of writing. Tennessee legislators passed a bill criminalizing certain actions by health professionals related to abortion-inducing pills, which are entirely different than emergency contraceptive pills. Meanwhile, discussions about Missouri's abortion "trigger law" may have led to the misconception that the state would ban emergency contraceptive pills but that has not happened at the time of writing.

The claim about Tennessee appeared in a Facebook post on May 8, 2022. The post's caption read "ik yall aint gone like this one😢." The post includes an image of a tweet that reads:

Tennessee just banned Plan B and made it a crime punishable by a $50,000 fine to order it.

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

tennessee abortion pill FB post.png

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Tue May 10 15:12:01 2022 UTC)

Abortion-inducing pills are not the same as emergency contraceptive pills such as Plan B: The former is used to terminate a pregnancy, while the latter is used to prevent pregnancy.

There is no legislation in Tennessee that bans emergency contraceptive pills at the time of writing. Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed House Bill 2416 into law on May 5, 2022. According to the bill's summary, the bill adds new provisions about the prescription and providing of abortion-inducing drugs to patients, and criminalizes the actions of health professionals who fail to comply with those provisions. If convicted, those health professionals could be fined up to $50,000 and imprisoned for up to 20 years.

The text of HB2614 does not mention "contraceptive," "Plan B," "morning-after" or "birth control."

Similar claims were made on Facebook and Twitter about Missouri. A screenshot of the tweet linked in this fact check and posted on May 9, 2022, is below:

missouri plan b.png

(Source: Twitter screenshot taken on Tue May 10 18:48:20 2022 UTC)

Missouri organizations that support abortion rights such as Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region & Southwest Missouri and Pro-Choice Missouri debunked the claim, clarifying that if the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade is overturned, Missouri's abortion "trigger law" would go into effect, blocking only abortion access in the state. This does not affect birth control, an umbrella term that includes emergency contraceptive pills and IUDs.

Tennessee is another one of the 13 states with an abortion "trigger law."

Other Lead Stories fact checks related to abortion can be found here.

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  Lead Stories Staff

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