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WV Focus: Reproductive Education and Equality

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Emergency Contraception

What is Emergency Contraception?

  • Also known as the “morning-after” pill or Plan B® , emergency contraception is a safe and reliable way to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or birth control failure.
  • Emergency contraception contains a concentrated dose of the same hormone found in regular birth control pills.
  • Emergency contraception WILL NOT cause an abortion (it is NOT the abortion pill).
  • Emergency contraception should be a back-up to your regular method of birth control and it DOES NOT prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or HIV/AIDS.
  • Emergency contraception comes in one pill or two pill packs.
  • Well-known brands of emergency contraception currently available in the United States include Plan B One-Step®, Next Choice®, My Way®, Levonorgestrel® and Ella®.

When Do I Use Emergency Contraception?

  • Within 5 days after having unprotected sex, but the sooner you take it, the more likely it will prevent a pregnancy.
  • If you didn’t use any birth control.
  • If the condom broke.
  • If you missed 2 or more birth control pills or you started your pack late.
  • If your diaphragm slipped.
  • If you were forced to have sex (please click here for more resources and support)

Where To Get Emergency Contraception

YOUR LOCAL PHARMACY

In the U.S., Plan B One-Step, My Way, and Next Choice One Dose (one pill generics) are available on the shelf is available without age restrictions to women and men (check the family planning aisle). Two-pill generics (Levonorgestrel Tablets) are also available  without prescription – you are not required to show an ID in order to purchase them.

The cost of one pack of EC at pharmacies in West Virginia is usually between $30-$65. If you have private insurance, take your insurance card with you and ask whether your insurance will cover your purchase. If you are concerned as to whether or not your insurance policy will cover a certain brand of emergency contraception, check out this handy guide from the National Women’s Law Center, which will walk you through a call with a representative from your health insurance company.

Teens 16 years old and under still need to get a prescription from their doctor or other healthcare provider in order to obtain two-pill generic brands of EC at a pharmacy. If you don’t have a doctor or if you are concerned about the cost of EC, consider one of the clinic or hospital options below; their services are confidential.

A LOCAL CLINIC OR HOSPITAL

If you cannot afford the price of EC at the pharmacy, you can still access emergency birth control! Emergency birth control is available through many community health centers, family planning centers, private doctors’ offices, and college health centers (usually for students only) throughout the state. There are clinics, community health centers, and hospitals that provide free or low-cost EC regardless of your age, immigration status or whether or not you have health insurance.

Many of the clinics will be able to see you and provide you with EC at a walk-in visit. However, please call the clinic nearest you before you visit to check their hours of operation and to find out whether you will need an appointment and what paperwork you should bring to your visit.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON WHERE YOU CAN ACCESS EC IN WEST VIRGINIA, INCLUDING A LIST OF FAMILY PLANNING CLINICS THAT OFFER FREE OR LOW-COST EC, CLICK HERE.

You can also visit http://not-2-late.com and search by your zip code for information on where you can access EC throughout the United States.

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