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Pilot program offers free emergency contraception to Missourians

The kits can be picked up in more than 40 locations across the state.

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Missouri Family Health Council, also known as MFHC, launched a pilot program called Free EC on Thursday.

It's a new project offering free emergency contraception, also known as the "morning-after pill," and the kits can be picked up in more than 40 locations across the state of Missouri.

After the Dobbs decision almost a year ago, MFHC has focused on creating this program to bring preventive healthcare.

Ashley Kuykendall is the Director of Program Initiatives with MFHC. She explained the organization is trying to debunk misconceptions. 

"I get a lot of questions from healthcare providers about whether or not emergency contraception is available over the counter. Most notably people right now think emergency contraception is not legal in the state of Missouri and we want to be very clear, birth control in all of its forms is safe and effective and legal," Kuykendall said.

She points out that emergency contraception pills and abortion pills are different medicines with different purposes. 

With the current pilot program, 5,600 kits are available to be distributed across the state. 

The kits come at no cost. Usually the product can cost between $40 and $50.

MFHC is partnered up with more than 40 distribution sites across the state including the National Council of Jewish Women St. Louis in St. Louis County. 

Jen Bernstein, the advocacy manager for the council, said, "We work with a lot of intimate partner violence survivors and sexual assault survivors and this is vitally important. We don’t want them to jump through hoops and be cost-prohibited."

If you can't go in person, the kits are also available online. 

"We know there are a lot of transportation and geographic barriers so folks can request for it to be mailed directly to them," Kuykendall said. "It’s a time-sensitive medication, so we want to make sure people can have these kits on hand so they have them when they need them."

The program launched at 7 a.m. Thursday morning. By noon, 200 kits were already requested online. 

You can call the National Council of Jewish Women St. Louis at 314-993-5181 and request a kit.

If you're interested in more information about accessing a kit, click here.

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