Overview

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 Intrauterine Device (IUD) can be effective when inserted into the uterus by a health care provider within 5 days after intercourse. A common brand name is ParaGuard. 

Resources

Emergency Contraceptives, State Laws, Guttmacher Institute, as of July 1, 2021, available at: https://www.guttmacher.org/state-policy/explore/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, 6 September 2018, https://www.kff.org/womens-health-policy/fact-sheet/emergency-contraception/.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. “ACOG Committee Opinion: Access to Emergency Contraception.” July 2017, https://www.acog.org/-/media/project/acog/acogorg/clinical/files/committee-opinion/articles/2017/07/access-to-emergency-contraception.pdf. Accessed 2021.

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