On social media, information that isn’t true sometimes spreads like wildfire. This happened over the weekend with a tweet claiming Plan B, a pill that prevents conception, had been banned in Tennessee.
That’s not true. The contraceptive is still available.
On Saturday night, an attorney and a 2020 Democratic candidate for Florida’s 18th Congressional District falsely tweeted that Plan B has been banned in Tennessee. Pam Keith also claimed individuals could be fined $50,000 dollars for ordering it. Neither of those things are true.
But by Monday afternoon, it had been shared 27,000 times.
Ashley Coffield, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Tennessee, says she’s been fielding calls from worried patients and friends.
“People kept saying, ‘Well, what’s going to happen to Plan B?’ and I was like, ‘What do you mean?'” Coffield says. “I mean, it’s available. You know, it’s contraception. It doesn’t have anything to do with abortion.”
Plan B, also called the morning-after pill, is used after unprotected sex to prevent fertilization and is available over the counter. Abortion pills end pregnancy and must be prescribed in person by a doctor in Tennessee.
Laws around receiving abortion pills were tightened this year, adding criminal penalties and fines against physicians who skirt state law. Coffield says mistaking contraceptives like Plan B with abortion pills does the public a disservice.
“The disinformation around emergency contraception or Plan B is really harmful because it’s a great preventive care option for patients to prevent pregnancy if they have unprotected sex.”
Coffield says with the legality of abortions in question, the need to have factual and up-to-date information available is crucial.
Pam Keith declined to comment when reached by WPLN News but later deleted the tweet claiming she mistook the law for ones proposed in other states.
Hey all. I tweeted something about a change in Tennessee law criminalizing a component of women’s health care that I understood to be similar to the proposed bans in Louisiana and Missouri. I have taken it down.
— Pam Keith, Esq. (@PamKeithFL) May 9, 2022