What is Emergency Contraception
In the U.S., Plan B One-Step is available without age restrictions to women and men (check the family planning aisle). One-pill generics (My Way and Next Choice One Dose) will soon be available on the shelf for consumers aged 17 and older, but this change has not taken effect yet; women aged 16 and younger still need a prescription. Two-pill generics (Levonorgestrel Tablets) are still available only behind the counter without prescription if you are 17 or older; younger women need a prescription.
Emergency contraception is birth control that prevents pregnancy after sex, which is why it is sometimes called "the morning after pill," "the day after pill," or "morning after contraception." You can use emergency contraception right away - or up to five days after sex - if you think your birth control failed, you didn't use contraception, or you were made to have sex against your will.
Emergency contraception makes it much less likely you will get pregnant. But emergency contraceptives are not as effective as birth control that's used before or during sex, like the pill or condoms. So if you are sexually active or planning to be, don't use emergency contraception as your only protection against pregnancy. Also, emergency contraception does not protect against sexually transmitted infections, like HIV (only condoms do). For help choosing the best regular method for you, try these free online tools: Method Match (from ARHP) or My Contraception Tool (from a UK-based educational website).
- emergency contraceptive pills (also called "morning after pills") and
For a more detailed academic review of the medical and social science literature about emergency contraception, click here .