The availability and use of emergency contraceptives (ECs) are vital for an individual’s health and well-being.  There are different types of  FDA-approved ECs that serve as an important back-up method to prevent a pregnancy when used after birth control failure, unprotected sexual intercourse or sexual assault.  Types of ECs are;

Levonorgestrel is a progestin-based pill that is sold under brand names such as;  Plan B, Plan B  One- Step, My Choice, My Way and others. It is effective if taken within 72 hours of intercourse and can be obtained without a prescription to all ages at pharmacies, drug stores, Indian Health Services (IHS) and military treatment facilities. 

Ulipristal Acetate is a pill sold under the brand name Ella and is effective up to five days after intercourse. A prescription from a doctor, nurse, family planning or health clinic is required to obtain Ella from a pharmacy or military treatment facility (if stocked at the facility). 

Plan B (and other brands) as well as Ella are often referred to as the morning-after pill.

Copper-releasing Intrauterine Device (IUD) is an effective method of emergency contraception when inserted into the uterus by a health care provider within 5 days after intercourse. ParaGuard (brand name) is the only copper-releasing IUD available in the US. Additionally, the copper-releasing IUD is a method of birth control.

EMAA Project Factsheet Medication Abortion Care vs. Emergency Contraception: What’s the Difference?

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), Classifications for Emergency Contraception, Reproductive Health, 1 February 2017, https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/contraception/mmwr/mec/appendixj.html.

Congressional Research Service. Defense Health Primer: Contraceptive Services, IN FOCUS, 19 February, 2019, https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/IF/IF11109.

Ibis Reproductive Health, Sexual and Reproductive Health of Women in the U.S. Military, Issue brief 2: Insurance coverage of sexual and reproductive health care, February 2017, https://www.ibisreproductivehealth.org/publications/sexual-and-reproductive-health-women-us-military-issue-brief-2-insurance-coverage.

Indian Health Service. “Birth Control.” U.S Dept. of Health and Human Services, https://www.apainc.org/programs-2/disparities-to-reproductive-health/contraceptives/.

Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF). “Emergency Contraception.” Health Policy, 6 September 2018, https://www.kff.org/womens-health-policy/fact-sheet/emergency-contraception/.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Emergency Contraception.” Reproductive Health, 2018, https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/contraception/mmwr/spr/emergency.html.

Nelson, Anita, Massoudi, Natasha. “New developments in intrauterine device use: focus on the US.” Open Access Journal of Contraception, vol. 7, 2016, pp. 127-141. National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5683151/#.


Fact Sheet about Emergency Contraception (2022)

WHO Emergency Contraception (2021)

Faqs about Emergency Contraception (2023)

Westhoff Carolyn, Columbia University Irving Medical Center. “The Facts About Emergency Contraception.” CUIMC Update, 12 July 2022, https://www.cuimc.columbia.edu/news/facts-about-emergency-contraception

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), “Emergency Contraception.” Practice Bulletin, vol. No. 152, 2015 https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/practice-bulletin/articles/2015/09/emergency-contraception.

The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF). “Emergency Contraception.” Health Policy, The Kaiser Family Foundation, 4 August 2022, https://www.kff.org/womens-health-policy/fact-sheet/emergency-contraception/.

Brief of Amici Curiae American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Physicians for Reproductive Health, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Nurses Association, et al.
Zubik v. Burwell

Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Inc. (10th District Court)


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