Flying M Coffee in Boise has a reproductive health box available for customers with free emergency contraception and other items provided by Idaho Abortion Rights. (Kelcie Moseley-Morris/Idaho Capital Sun)
Mutual aid group Idaho Abortion Rights is increasing its distribution of free emergency contraception pills across Idaho through a new partnership with a contraception brand called Julie, which is also sold in Walmart stores and online.
Kimra Luna, co-founder of Idaho Abortion Rights, said the group will receive 500 units of emergency contraception from Julie Products, Inc. as part of an effort the company launched this month to send 200,000 units to 20 contraception-focused groups across the country.
Julie is a separate brand from Plan B emergency contraception with the same active ingredient and dosage that is intended to prevent pregnancy by temporarily delaying or stopping ovulation and is most effective when taken within 72 hours of sexual intercourse, according to a press release. Julie is FDA approved, and the company plans to donate one package of the pill for every package purchased. It is not the same medication used in a medical abortion, which stops the progression of an already existing pregnancy.
Amanda E/J Morrison, co-founder and president of Julie Products, said the company’s goals are to destigmatize the use of emergency contraception and provide access to communities termed “contraceptive deserts” that lack access to a full range of contraceptive options. Donations will be prioritized for communities with larger populations of uninsured or underinsured people, communities of color, LGBTQ communities and those living in states with strict abortion laws, such as Idaho.
Morrison said she and her co-founders chose the name Julie to give the brand a friendly vibe.
“We felt like people had such a negative or, frankly, indifferent relationship with health care and pharmaceuticals, so we really wanted to personify it and give it a soft, approachable name,” she said. “Everybody knows a Julie — she’s your big sister, she’s your aunt, or cousin, and she’s just here to tell you how it is.”
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Leader says group will continue its efforts regardless of Idaho Legislature’s actions
Luna told the Idaho Capital Sun the pills will be available at various existing distribution sites across Idaho, with plans to expand the number of locations. Luna said in addition to emergency contraception, the distribution sites have free condoms, pregnancy tests and literature about how to obtain other methods of birth control. Outside of the Treasure Valley, there are also sites in Bonners Ferry, Grangeville and Kendrick health clinics, according to the group’s website.
Honey Pot CBD, Flying Pie Pizzeria and Flying M Coffeehouse in Boise are also partnered with Idaho Abortion Rights.
“We always make sure (the distribution site is) a place where employees aren’t going to be judgmental with people,” Luna said.
Idaho Abortion Rights formed in March 2022 following Gov. Brad Little’s signature on Senate Bill 1309, the civil enforcement mechanism bill allowing lawsuits to be filed against medical providers who perform abortions. The group has since held protests and rallies to fight against abortion restrictions in Idaho and has offered help to those who need abortions or other reproductive care, including car rides, sex and abortion education classes.
Luna said the partnership with Julie came together in the past few months as the collective started looking for ways to expand their efforts.
“We began researching groups that could help us with our goal of getting Plan B in everybody’s hands, and one of our members had just been researching, found Julie, and Julie wanted to support what we were doing,” Luna said.
Luna said regardless of what happens with the Idaho Legislature this session and what laws are passed, including ones that may ban emergency contraception such as Plan B and Julie, her group intends to keep trying to reach people with the same resources because they believe people should have control over their own bodies.
“People make mistakes, and I think people need to be able to do something that’s responsible if a mistake happened,” Luna said. “There are people who are on birth control who will still take emergency contraception if they think there might be a chance of them getting pregnant, so it helps people feel more confident with their decisions and more confident with their sex life as well. And they’re very expensive, so people who can’t afford them deserve to be able to have access to them, especially knowing if they can’t afford that, they most likely can’t afford to take care of a kid either.”
All information about emergency contraception provided by Idaho Abortion Rights is located on the group’s website, Luna said, as well as information for anyone who wants to join the collective and volunteer.
“We’re really excited for the support we’re getting from Julie. This is something that’s really going to help Idahoans, especially with the political climate that’s going on,” Luna said. “All the support that us red states can get is very much appreciated.”
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