Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About...
How to Get Emergency Contraception
If I am a teenager (under 17 years old), can I get emergency contraception in the United States without my parents' knowledge or consent?
YES. Plan B One-Step and its generic forms (like Take Action and Next Choice One Dose) are available to anyone of any age, directly only the shelf, with no need to show ID.
Regulations on the sale of EC have changed frequently, so it can be quite confusing. Below is some information about how the different brands of EC are sold. If you want to use ella, call the pharmacy first to be sure that it is in stock.
Progestin-only EC (like Plan B One-Step and its generic forms Take Action, Next Choice One Dose and My Way) are approved for unrestricted sale on store shelves. Even though the package directions for the generics say that it’s intended for use by women ages 17 and older, anyone can buy it without needing to show ID. Plan B One-Step usually costs about $40-$50, and the generics cost about $35-$45.
- If you want to use insurance to purchase EC, go to the pharmacy counter and ask for help.
- You can order a generic form of Plan B One-Step at www.afterpill.com for $20 + $5 shipping. This site does not offer expedited shipping, so it's not meant for emergency use, but you can stock up and keep it on hand for future use.
- ella is sold by prescription only, regardless of age. You can also order ella through an online prescription service for $59, including shipping.
If you are getting EC from a clinic, be sure to ask if the medical care you receive will be confidential and, if not, you may want to contact someone else to get emergency contraception (click here to find an emergency contraception provider near you).
Although studies show that EC can work up to 5 days after sex, what matters for each individual woman is where you are in your menstrual cycle. ella works closer to the time of ovulation than progestin-only EC (although most likely neither will work if you have already ovulated). If you think you might be close to ovulation, or don't know where you are in your cycle, ella may be the best choice. However, the most important thing is that you take action and get EC as soon as possible.
If you already have emergency contraceptive pills in your medicine cabinet, you can start using them right away – without having to go to the pharmacy to buy the pills. For this reason, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists – the leading professional association of doctors who specialize in women’s health – recommends getting emergency contraceptive pills before they are needed.