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Amazon, Rite Aid limit purchases of emergency contraception

Due to increased demand for "morning after" pills, some chains added temporary purchase limits.

NEW YORK — Amazon is limiting how many emergency contraceptives consumers can buy, joining other Rite Aid and retailers who put in place similar caps following the Supreme Court decision overruling Roe v. Wade.

Amazon's limit, which temporarily caps purchase of the contraceptives at three units per week, went into effect on Monday, a spokesperson for the e-commerce giant confirmed to The Associated Press. The company did not share further details on what emergency contraceptive products were limited for purchase, but a listing showed the cap applied to Plan B, the popular “morning after" pill.  

CVS and Rite Aid had similar caps on purchases of emergency contraception amid increased demand, spokespersons said Tuesday.

A CVS spokesperson said the temporary limit was implemented after a rise in sales following the Supreme Court decision on abortion. On Tuesday afternoon, the company said it's in the process of removing those restrictions within the next 24 hours since sales had returned to normal.

CVS said it continues to have "ample supply" of the emergency contraceptive to meet customer needs. 

Walmart, Amazon's top competitor, has capped online purchases of Plan B to 10 units, though it's unclear when the purchase limit began. The retailer doesn't have in-store limits at this time, but managers may make changes to help ensure availability based on the demand.

“Many of our products have online purchase limits in place,” a Walmart spokesperson said. “During times of fluctuating demand, these limits may change.”

Emergency contraception reduces the chance of pregnancy after unprotected sex, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says. It includes "morning after" pills like Plan B, which generally need to be taken within three days. 

A Rite Aid spokesperson said the chain is limiting purchases of Plan B contraceptive pills to three per customer due to increased demand.

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"Using (emergency contraception) does not cause an abortion," ACOG writes. "An abortion ends an existing pregnancy. (Emergency contraception) prevents pregnancy from occurring." 

The CDC says emergency contraceptives aren't a regular form of birth control. Instead, they're taken if no birth control was used during sex, or if a birth control method failed.

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Some types of emergency contraception pills, including Plan B, can be bought over-the-counter in the U.S. Other types require a prescription. 

ACOG said the most effective type of emergency contraception is the copper intrauterine device (IUD), which needs to be inserted by a health care professional.

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