Plan Ahead

Plan for Emergencies

Plan B® is the most common kind of emergency contraception (EC) and is currently the only product marketed specifically as EC pills.

YOU MIGHT HAVE TO EDUCATE THE PHARMACIST BECAUSE,  according to a Court order, withing 30 days of March 23, 2009, Plan B® will be available to all women 17 and older over-the-counter (i.e. without a prescription.) Hopefully in the not-to-distant future it will be available for all women over-the-counter!

Right now, Plan B® is available for women 18 and older-over-the-counter, but it is kept behind the counter so you HAVE to ask for it. (You will probably be asked for ID, so bring it!) If you are under 18, you can get a prescription by going to your clinician.
This means you can plan ahead; you can have it in your medicine cabinet as a “just in case” measure.

If you’re under 18, get your prescription NOW and FILL it! It can take the hysteria out of the situation and you won’t be stuck nervously waiting for an appointment. You’ll be able to take EC immediately; remember, the sooner after unprotected sex you take it, the more effective it is.

Plan B® can be taken up to five days (120 hours) after unprotected sex. The manufacturer of Plan B® states that it works up to three days (72 hours) after unprotected sex but that it can still work -though not as well- up to five days (120 hours) after sex.

All About EC

What is EC?

Emergency Contraceptive Pills (ECP or EC) are pills you can take after unprotected sex in order to prevent pregnancy. Currently, the only product marketed for emergency contraceptive use is Plan B®, which is a high-dose progestin-only pill. Plan B® is also commonly known as “the morning after pill” but it can be taken up to five days (120 hours) after unprotected sex.

So, how do they work? They prevent or delay ovulation (the time in your cycle when your ovaries release an egg), making it harder for the egg to be fertilized by the sperm. They do not prevent an already-fertilized egg from attaching to the uterine wall nor do they cause the egg to abort in any way. If you happen to already be pregnant, EC will have no effect on the pregnancy.

What if you can’t get Plan B®? Plan B® is the best choice for EC there is today but you may have difficulty getting it (you live in the boon-docks or can’t find a pharmacy that has it). If that happens, you can still use certain regular oral contraceptives (birth control pills or, simply “the pill”) to help prevent pregnancy; these choices are not marketed as EC and are not as effective.

If you are unable to get Plan B®, you can go to to find out which brands of oral contraceptives can be used as EC (this is known as the Yuzpe regimen), and in what doses you should take them. Do not exceed recommended dosages and do not substitute one brand for another. Using conventional birth control pills as emergency contraception should be considered only when Plan B® is unavailable. And, if it happens that you do not use any of the listed pills, then you are out of luck! That’s why it’s so important to be prepared by getting Plan B® ahead of time, “just in case.”

The First Line of Defense

Your first act in preventing pregnancy should always be to use a contraceptive device so that EC is not necessary. Birth control is designed to prevent pregnancy and can work in a number of ways, including:

* Preventing the sperm from getting to the egg by acting as a barrier (i.e., condoms and diaphragms)
* Preventing the woman’s ovaries from releasing an egg, so there is no egg to be fertilized and changing the mucosa of the cervix to make it thicker and more difficult for the sperm to reach the egg (i.e., birth control pills, the “patch,” EC)
* Changing the lining of the uterus and fallopian tubes to affect the movements of the eggs and sperm so that fertilization does not occur (i.e., intrauterine devices or IUDs)

The type of birth control you choose depends on different factors like the number of sexual partners you have, how often you have sex, and your health. Your health-care provider is able to help you select the best method for you.
You can get condoms at nearly any grocery or convenience store or at any women’s health clinic. Other forms of birth control and reproductive services can be obtained from many places, including the following:

Planned Parenthood

(Birth Control, including EC, Abortion, HIV/STD testing)
Mount Kisco – 914.666.6025
Mount Vernon – 914.668.7927
New Rochelle – 914.632.4442
White Plains – 914.761.6566
Yonkers – 914.965.1912
To find the Planned Parenthood nearest you call 1.800.232.PLAN (7526)

Open Door Family Medical Centers

(Birth Control, including EC, STD/HIV Testing, Family Health Care)
Ossining – 914.941.1263
Port Chester – 914.937.8899
Mount Kisco – 914.666.3272
Sleepy Hallow – 914.631.4141

Community Health Centers

(Birth Control, including EC, STD/HIV Testing, Family Health Care)
Greenburgh – 914.949.7600
Mount Vernon – 914.699.7200
Yonkers – 914.968.4898

All Women’s Health and Medical Services

(Birth Control, including EC, Abortion, HIV/STD testing)
White Plains – 914.946.0050

To find Plan B® providers in the US and Canada, call:1-888-NOT-2- LATE or visit In New York City, dial 311. The New York City Department of Health offers free Plan B®. Plan B® is available, free of charge, at NYC’s STD Clinics.

At the clinics mentioned above the cost is based on your ability to pay.
This list is intended solely for informational purposes and does not constitute legal or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Consult a New York State licensed professional for additional information. Choice Matters is in no way affiliated with any of the other organizations cited here, and cannot be held responsible for any services they may provide.

How Does EC Work?

EC temporarily stops or delays a woman’s body form ovulating (releasing an egg), and it prevents an already released egg from being fertilized – but no matter when you take it, it does not cause a fertilized egg that has already implanted to abort. Both the progestin-only and the combination pills can stop or delay ovulation (the time in your cycle when your ovary releases an egg) making it harder for the egg to be fertilized by the sperm.

It is important to note that EC is not a replacement for birth control.


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