Planned Parenthood


Be Healthy, Be Safe, Be You!



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Be Healthy, Be Safe, Be You! is a multi-month campaign that wants to help you make healthy and safe decisions when it comes to your sexual health. #BeHealthyBeYou

December: Emergency Contraception 101

This month we are going to talk about emergency contraception (EC) as part of the Be Healthy, Be Safe, Be You campaign.  Emergency contraception (also known as the morning-after pill or Plan B) is a hormonal contraceptive used to prevent pregnancy after unprotected or unwanted sexual intercourse.  Here are some of the most commonly asked questions…

Can anyone buy emergency contraception?

  • Yes! Anyone can buy emergency contraception and you don’t need any kind of identification/ID.  You can find EC at grocery stores and pharmacies. Some brands of EC can even be purchased online:  AfterPill and Plan B One-Step can be purchased through Amazon.  Ella, can be purchased through ella-kwikmed.com. And, of course, you can purchase emergency contraception at our health centers.

Do I need a prescription for EC?

  • No. Anyone can access emergency contraception.

How much does it cost?

  • Emergency contraception can cost anywhere between $25 and $50.  It just depends on which brand you choose to buy.

Does insurance cover emergency contraception?

  • Yes. If you choose to use insurance, you will need a prescription from a health care provider and then you can fill it like you would any other medication.

Is EC the same thing as the abortion pill?

  • No. Emergency contraception reduces the chance of becoming pregnant; it cannot end a pregnancy like the abortion pill.  In fact, if you are already pregnant, it won’t work! 

When should I take EC?

  • Emergency contraception should be taken as soon as possible, after unprotected intercourse.  Although EC can be effective up to 72 hours after unprotected sex, the sooner EC is taken, the more effective it is at preventing pregnancy. 

Are there any side effects of EC?

  • Nausea and vomiting are possible side effects.  In addition, you might have unexpected bleeding, which will clear up by the time you have your next period.

When can I go back to using my regular hormonal birth control?

  • The day after you take EC, you can continue your hormonal birth control.

Does EC protect against future unprotected sex?

  • No.  Emergency contraception will not protect against future unprotected intercourse.

Can I use emergency contraception instead of a birth control method, like the pill or condom?

  • It is best to have a regular birth control method, rather than relying on emergency contraception because taking emergency contraceptive pills is simply not as effective as using a birth control method like the pill or a condom.

Do you have more questions? Find lots more questions and answers here.


Click here to find a health center near you.

Check out last month’s post about consent here


We wish you a happy holiday – be healthy, be safe, and be you!


NOTE: We always encourage young people to talk to their parents or trusted adult about their sexual health because it is best to frame sex and relationships within a family’s values and beliefs. But, a young person does not have to have his or her parent’s permission in order to access prevention services (such as exams or birth control) or to make an appointment.

Why Be Healthy, Be Safe, Be You

Teens want information ─ more than three-quarters of teens, aged 15-17, say that they need more information about birth control, HIV/AIDS, and other sexually transmitted infections. And, we know that when teens have the information and education they need, they make better decisions. 

And, in Arizona, the statistics show that teens aren’t getting the information they so desperately want in order to make healthy decisions…

  • Fifty-two percent (52.6%) of high school seniors reported having sexual intercourse in the past three months.
  • Only fifty-nine percent (59%) report using a condom during last sexual intercourse and fifteen percent (15%) did not use any method to prevent pregnancy during last intercourse.
  • While teen pregnancy rates are declining, Arizona teens are still more likely to become pregnant than most teens across the nation. Arizona is ranked 18th among states for teen pregnancy.

For Health Care

If you want to come to us for health care or to ask your questions about sex and sexual health...we take most major health insurance, as well as AHCCCS. We are also a Title X (ten) provider. With or without insurance, we can provide you with your birth control at your appointment. 

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Be Healthy, Be Safe, Be You!