The secretary of Health & Human Services said “No Way Jose!” to the FDA’s recommendation to make Plan B One-Step (the “morning after” pill) available over-the-counter to girls under 17. Girls sweet 16 and under will still need a prescription from their doc (CNN).
5 things you should know about emergency contraception:
- EC is not an abortion pill.
- EC prevents a fertilized egg from embedding in the uterus, which prevents pregnancy.
- EC can be used after no birth control was used during sex, or if the birth control method failed (i.e. condom broke) (CDC).
- EC pills can be take up to 5 days after unprotected sex, but is more effective if taken sooner rather than later.
- There are 4 types of emergency contraception available in the United States (bedsider.org):
- ELLA: One-pill formula available by prescription only. Blocks the hormones your body needs to conceive. Completely effective for 5 days after unprotected sex.
- Plan B/Next Choice: Available over-the-counter, without a prescription. Similar to birth control pills, but at a much higher dose. Works up to 5 days after unprotected sex, but effectiveness decreases each day.
- Yuzpe Method: You can use certain birth control pills as EC if you follow the Yuzpe Method guidelines. Works best up to 3 days following unprotected sex. After that, it’s much less effective.
- Paragard IUD: Most effective EC. Have a doctor insert it within 5 days of a misstep and lower your chance of pregnancy by 99.9%.
By ALYSSA LLAMAS