(A Brief Introduction to Emergency Contraception, a.k.a the morning-after pill)***
First: EC is not an abortion and CANNOT induce one if you are already pregnant.
What it is: EC is 2 hormone pills (different brands may have different hormone makeup) taken in 12 hours of one another to prevent pregnancy. The sooner the first pill is taken, the higher the effectiveness of EC, and although it is most effective if started within 3 days after vagina/penis intercourse, it may be taken up to 120 hours later.
How it works: The hormone in EC works in one of three ways depending on how soon after intercourse you take it: 1) by stopping ovaries from releasing eggs; 2) by thickening the cervical mucous; 3) by preventing a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus.
Availability: Unfortunately, in some states you still need a Rx to get EC at the local pharmacy. Let this not deter you if you need it! Make an appointment with your doctor or local clinic ASAP. Planned Parenthood generally provides EC on a sliding scale basis, and you can stock up on EC in case. To find out about availability in your area, call 1.888.NOT.2.LATE
Safety Note: The hormone in EC is also a hormone in some birth control pills, it is only in greater potency in EC. For this reason, if it is not safe for you to use birth control pills, you probably should not take EC.
***A reader pointed put that if a person with a uterus taking EC weighs more than 160 pounds, there is a high chance the EC will not work. See: