Have you ever wondered what the difference is between the abortion pill and emergency contraception (often known as Plan B)? If so, you’re not the only one.
There’s a lot of confusion about this. In fact, just last month, the writers of Black Mirror goofed and confused emergency contraception with the abortion pill. Oops. (Obviously, do not click that link if you have plans to binge-watch Black Mirror Season 4!)
Black Mirror got well-schooled over this misstep. But they are certainly not the first to make that mistake.
So, what IS the difference between Plan B and the abortion pill?
It’s pretty simple: emergency contraception, like Plan B, decreases your odds of getting pregnant in the first few days after unprotected sex, and the abortion pill ends a pregnancy within the first 11 weeks of pregnancy.
Wait, there’s an abortion pill?
Yes, there is! It still seems to be a bit under the radar despite the fact it’s been available in the United States for over 17 years. The abortion pill is a popular name for using two different medications to safely end a pregnancy. These medications are generally provided by a medical office or clinic and cause cramping and bleeding, similar to a heavy period or early miscarriage, to end your pregnancy more privately.
Does emergency contraception like Plan B cause abortion?
No. Emergency contraception is taken after unprotected sex, but before conception has happened – ideally the sooner the better. It actually prevents ovulation to reduce the possibility of pregnancy.
The condom broke – what do I do?
Things happen! If the condom breaks, or you forget to use birth control and you don’t want to get pregnant, you can take emergency contraception. Because it’s best to use it as soon as possible, we suggest keeping some emergency contraception in your medicine cabinet. You never know when you or a friend might need it! Emergency contraception is currently available at the pharmacy counter of any drugstore or at a carafem health center.
What kinds of emergency contraception are there?
There are three types of emergency contraception:
- An over-the-counter (no prescription required) pill containing the medication Levonorgestrel, like Plan B, Next Choice, Take Action. There are many other brand names too. These can be taken up to three days after unprotected sex, but the sooner the better. This is often the least expensive option for emergency contraception.
- Another pill called Ella – can be taken anytime within the first five days with the same level of effectiveness, but requires a prescription. People with a BMI of 26 or higher may find Ella a more effective choice. Ella is available with a prescription from your doctor or you can order it online through PRJKT RUBY or check out this guide to delivery options.
- A copper IUD is the most effective form of emergency contraception! This is a great option if you want to ensure you have safe, reliable, and completely reversible long term birth control in the future. You should get an IUD within 5 days of unprotected sex if you want to use it for emergency contraception.
I missed my period and I think I’m five weeks pregnant. Can I take medication to end my pregnancy?
What is the abortion pill? How do I get it?
The abortion pill is actually two medications that are generally provided by a medical office or clinic. The first medication stops the pregnancy from growing and the second causes cramping and bleeding to end the pregnancy, which feels similar to a heavy period or early miscarriage
What is the right option for me?
This depends on your situation and what feels best to you. Each of these methods is safe and effective but the cost, process, and availability vary for each. A great resource to learn which method might be good for you is not-2-late.com or give us a call at 855-SAY-CARA.
Remember, if you’ve had a positive pregnancy test, emergency contraception is no longer an option. If you’ve decided that an abortion with medication is your best choice, you can contact carafem for info about the abortion pill.
So now you know! Emergency contraception and the abortion pill are different – but they’re both important for people who want to take control of their reproductive health.
Abortion Information You Can Trust
carafem medical standards and guidelines have been composed and approved by Board-certified Ob/Gyn Physicians as part of the carafem medical committee. Still have questions? Check out our FAQ page, or call us at 855-SAY-CARA, or find a location near you.