Plan C is a public health creative campaign, started in 2015 by a small team of veteran public health advocates, researchers, social justice activists and digital strategists.
Plan C transforms access to abortion in the US by normalizing the self-directed option of abortion pills by mail.
Our Vision: A near future in which the ability to end an early pregnancy is directly in the hands of anyone who seeks it.
Co-director and Co-founder
Co-founder and Strategic Advisor
Digital Director and Co-founder
Research Coordinator with University of Washington
Partnerships and Engagement Manager
Special Projects Consultant
Community Engagement Lead
Community Engagement Lead
We believe that every person has the non-negotiable human right and ability to make their own choices and decisions regarding whether, when, and how to create or grow a family, and that everyone deserves unrestricted access to the rights, information, resources and support needed to care for themselves and for their families.
Furthermore, we believe everyone deserves unrestricted access to the rights, information, resources and support needed to care for themselves and for their families. We center the value of self-determination in both our organization's work as well as the ways in which we partner with our allies.
We envision and encourage a reality where abortion is not in isolation but is community care, and is accessible in ways that are safe, peaceful, timely and affordable for every person.
Through our work we strive to address the historical and ongoing oppression of individuals on the basis of race, gender, sexuality, income, age, geography and other marginalized and intersectional identities. We do this by centering these communities in our work increasing access to abortion pills, while also considering the circumstances the higher risk of criminalization and lack of general support for these communities. Further, we push back on unjust laws and criminalization of pregnant people.
We center the end user.
Our mission all the way down to specific resources and Guide materials are designed with the end user in mind, or person with capacity for pregnancy and/or seeking pills, first and foremost. This person comes before our awareness efforts, donor relations or any other relationship we cultivate.
We are evidence-based.
We rely on research, data, and evidence. We share resources and information based on this data, we operate with integrity and care in our priorities and our communications practices.
We partner and act as a catalyst.
We work interdependently and encourage progress by investing in our partners and allies to operate in their “zones of genius.” We encourage momentum within and across movements by sharing resources and expertise and encouraging intros and alliances between national, state and local partners. We continue to ground partnerships in respect, accountability, transparency and equitable sharing of power, and leverage these partnerships to positively impact communities and individual lives.
We are a member of:
Founded in 2015 and led by Francine Coeytaux, MPH, Elisa Wells, MPH, and Amy Merrill, MA, Plan C is under the fiscal sponsorship of the National Women’s Health Network, a 501c3 nonprofit organization.
In the mid 1990s, Elisa Wells and Francine Coeytaux were on the team to bring Plan B, the “morning after pill,” over the counter – a long but successful journey catalyzing business, FDA and public goals. (Read From Secret to Shelf, 1999). Their work on maternal mortality and abortion globally - where in many countries abortion pills were available directly off pharmacy shelves - highlighted the need for better and more direct routes of access to abortion pills in the US.
In 2013, Coeytaux, then at Public Health Institute, coordinated a meeting with National Women’s Health Network and Ipas to bring together reproductive justice organizations to discuss how to move the issue of self-managed care forward. A key revelation was that there was beginning to be online access to misoprostol in the United States, which Wells and others outlined in an unpublished paper called Surfing for Abortion. In 2015, Wells and Coeytaux prepared an analysis for the Reproductive Health Technologies Project about how the lessons learned from emergency contraception could be used to spread awareness of abortion pills as a self-managed method in the United States. During these years, Coeytaux and Wells were also working internationally and witnessing the expansion of access to abortion pills through pharmacies in many countries, and the positive impact that access was having on reducing maternal mortality.
In the summer of 2016, Elisa and Francine partnered with a younger public health researcher/writer and a nonprofit creative (me) to launch a website that would share information about online abortion pills and self-managed abortion. In late 2016, we noticed online vendors selling “abortion kits.”
We researched and tested these vendors and published this research in the journal Contraception, as well as on our website as the Plan C Report Card, documenting what we knew to be reliable online sources of pills.
Over the next three years, our website grew and the Plan C data and team were featured in major publications worldwide.
In 2018 we collaborated on a study with UCSF to demonstrate the feasibility and acceptability of online access to abortion pills throughout California. But the FDA refused to approve the study, for the same reason the restrictions remain in place—politics. Instead, we took our idea to the state of Washington, where a respected clinic ran with it instead.
By now, dozens of online vendors were selling abortion pills, most from within the United States. This was unprecedented. But still there were so many people reaching out to reproductive health organizations, asking for help in self-managing their abortion--and no US organization was able to step up. So AidAccess.org came online to serve the US from the Netherlands, initially helping around 1,000 people/month with medically-supported at-home abortion care. By operating from outside the US, they were able to sidestep the politics of abortion for the time being.
By 2019 the Plan C website was receiving upwards of 50,000 hits/month, from all over the US, with over half of those visitors seeking out the Report Card. The work of the Plan C team was featured in major press and led to speaking engagements at events like Essence Festival and the Cycles+Sex Conference (now allbodies.com). The Plan C team meanwhile spent time incubating and advising new telehealth providers as they considered coming online: but still, the FDA's restrictions on mailing abortion pills prevented most from launching.
In April 2020, as the global pandemic hit, Plan C sent a call-out to medical providers across the nation, asking them to step up and consider providing telemedicine and pills shipped directly to patients during the pandemic's state of emergency. Hundreds responded to the call, and a handful found ways to launch their new services from permissive states. In collaboration with the University of Washington, Plan C developed a Toolkit to assist them as they began to revolutionize access to early abortion across the U.S. by mailing pills.
In July 2020, a judge’s ruling allowed mifepristone to be mailed. Clinics and telehealth startups fast-tracked the adoption of new protocols that reduced the need for blood tests and physical exams, opening the door to rapid expansion of online abortion care.
In January 2021, on one of the deadliest days of the pandemic, SCOTUS ruled to reinstate restrictions on mifepristone by mail, creating chaos for telehealth abortion providers and those seeking this new form of care. Aid Access continued to mail pills to patients across the U.S. and providers considered how much they were willing to risk to provide patient-centered care in a public health crisis. Plan C continued to share information about alternate routes of access to pills, including online pill vendors and Aid Access.
In April of 2021, the court once again removed restrictions against mailing, but left other barriers in place: blocking mife from pharmacies and keeping burdensome provider registration processes in place. Telehealth abortion care came online with full force.
In summer of 2021, Texas announced passing the first "aid and abet" abortion ban, deputizing citizens to target helpers of abortion access with civil suits. In response, Plan C contacted local Texas partners and commissioned a mobile billboard truck to drive through West Texas and share information on abortion pills by mail on college campus "free speech" zones. The passing of SB8 led to a spike in Plan C's online reach, with Plan C accounts reposted far and wide: AOC's tweet about Plan C garnered more than 8M views.
In May 2022 the U.S. media "leaked" the Dobbs decision, alerting the public and organizations of what was to come. Unfortunately, the repro movement and governmental administrations were unable to coordinate or mobilize a response or defense.
Six weeks later, the Dobbs decision effectively overturned the protections of Roe v. Wade. Plan C responded on social media, in the press and in community with partner organizations sharing information on alternate routes of access and resources for self-managed abortion (including advance provision and mail forwarding. Abortion access was now a human rights imperative and our harm reduction response garnered a groundswell of support, with people amplifying our information about self-managed abortion far and wide.
Nevertheless, tens of millions of people in the U.S. were impacted by not only clinics closing and providers withdrawing from care, but also consistent misinformation and censorship of health info online.
In late 2022, Plan C was recognized in MIT's 2022 Technology Review and won the Anthem/Webby awards Gold Award for non-profit websites.
"I've used Plan C and it saved my life. Now I go around teaching about safe sex to high schoolers in the summer."
"I'm a dude but I stand with y'all. I have 3 sisters and an amazing wife and I learned so much from them...my way of helping y'all is putting these [stickers] everywhere ❤."