ec myths

Myth: There is nothing I can do after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy.


Fact: To prevent pregnancy, you can take Plan B® up to 120 hours (five days!) after unprotected sex. Although Plan B® can be taken up to five days after unprotected sex, it’s most effective (89%) if you take it within 120 (five days) hours of having sex.

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Myth: Plan B® causes abortion.


Fact: Plan B® does not cause abortion. Plan B® will not affect you if you are already pregnant. It has no effect on an implanted egg. Plan B® is a completely different medication from mifepristone, or RU486, often called the abortion pill, which contains antiprogesterone and other steroidal hormones.

Myth: Plan B® is unsafe.


Fact: Plan B® is very safe. It works exactly the same way as routine birth control pills. In fact, it consists of one of the two (synthetic) hormones contained in oral contraceptives. Those hormones are among the best-studied and safest drugs available today. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved Plan B® as a safe and effective method of emergency contraception. Plan B® is currently available in pharmacies and many family planning clinics. Some women experience mild side effects—like nausea, headaches, breast tenderness, or irregular bleeding —for a short period of time after taking Plan B®.

Myth: Plan B® is not safe for teens.


Fact: Use of birth control pills as emergency contraception has been practiced since the 1960s. In fact, the FDA Advisory Boards recommended that Plan B® be available over-the-counter for everyone, regardless of age.

Myth: You need a parent’s permission to get Plan B®.


Fact: You don’t need your parent’s permission to get Plan B®. In fact, teens in every state have the right to obtain Emergency Contraception without parental consent or notification. However, if you are a young woman under age 18, you will need a prescription.

Myth: Men can’t get Plan B®


Fact: Anyone 18 and older can purchase Plan B®. The purchaser does not have to be the person who plans to use it.

Myth: Medicaid does not cover Plan B®


Governor Spitzer signed into law a provision allowing Medicaid to pay for up to six (6) doses of Plan B® a year.

Myth: Plan B® can affect your future fertility.


Fact: Plan B® does not affect your ability to get pregnant the very next time you have sex. So, be prepared and start using birth control!

Myth: If you use Emergency Contraception, you are protected against pregnancy until your next period.


Fact: Plan B® will only prevent pregnancy when it is taken within 120 hours (five days) AFTER unprotected sex but it does not protect you for future acts of unprotected sex.

Birth control pills used as emergency contraception (the Yuzpe regimen) will protect you when used in accordance with instructions found at but they will not work effectively for the remainder of your cycle. You will need to use an alternative form of birth control until your next cycle begins.

If a copper IUD has been inserted, it will continue to provide you with protection.

Myth: Doctors are well informed about Plan B® and other forms of emergency contraception and discuss it as a contraceptive option with their patients .


Fact: Few doctors know about and discuss Plan B® with their patients. Only one in five gynecologists routinely discusses EC with patients. Among all health care professionals, only one in ten discusses EC, and pediatricians and adolescent pediatricians almost never do!

Myth: Doctors and hospitals make Plan B® available to all rape victims.


Fact: In one study, fewer than 40 percent of hospital emergency rooms provided Plan B® to victims of sexual assault. However, New York State law REQUIRES rape victims to be informed about Plan B® and provided with Plan B®, free of charge, if requested.

Myth: Plan B® is not important for teens.


Fact: If you are having sex, you or your partner could become pregnant! In the United States each year, about 750,000 to 850,000 teens become pregnant; 85 percent of these pregnancies are unintended. Many teens are also the victims of rape and sexual assault.

Myth: Plan B® is easily available to teens in the United States.


Fact: Although the law is on your side, Plan B® is not readily available to teens in most states. If you are age 18 or older, you can get Plan B® without a prescription from any pharmacy that carries it. You will need to show a government-issued proof of age, such as a driver’s license, passport, or birth certificate. If you are under age 18 and live in all but eight states (Alaska, California, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, or Washington State), you must first visit a health care provider to obtain a prescription for Plan B®.

Remember, you can and should get Plan B® BEFORE you need it! Check out our “Plan Ahead” page for more information! Remember, too, that YOU DO NOT NEED YOUR PARENTS’ PERMISSION TO GET A PRESCRIPTION FOR PLAN B® NOR DO THEY HAVE TO BE INFORMED THAT YOU ARE REQUESTING IT.

Myth: You can’t get Plan B® until you have an emergency.


Fact: You can get Plan B® at any time. Having a prescription for, or a supply of, Plan B® (this would be your best bet) on hand before you need it helps ensure that you can take it as soon as possible after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure. Plan B® has a long shelf life – 48 months after the date of manufacture, so it can sit in your medicine cabinet for a long time… just in case. Be sure to check the expiration date before you purchase it, especially if you don’t plan on taking it now.

Myth: Making Plan B® available will encourage people to take more sexual risks or to abandon their primary method of birth control.


Fact: Studies prove that Plan B® users are not careless; most are on regular birth control.



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