Emergency contraception (EC), sometimes known as the “morning-after pill” or emergency birth control, is a safe and effective means of preventing pregnancy. Available for nearly 40 years, it contains hormones found in birth control pills and must be taken within 120 hours after intercourse to be effective.
Access to EC is crucial in situations such as rape, or when contraceptive methods have failed. EC has no impact on an existing pregnancy. Nonetheless, groups opposed to this method of contraception falsely claim that it can end a pregnancy, and disseminate misinformation about its safety and efficacy.
The FDA and medical societies have made clear that EC is a safe and effective method of birth control, not abortion. In 2006, EC was FDA-approved for sale behind-the-counter without a prescription to women 18 and older, and earlier this year, a court ruled that the FDA must lift the age restriction for over-the-counter access to EC. However, some health care providers are not informing patients about the availability and efficacy of EC, and some pharmacies are refusing to stock or dispense it.
Click here to learn more about EC.