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Roe v. Wade has been overturned; can I still get emergency contraception?

·2 min read

Story at a glance

  • On Friday, the Supreme Court issued a final ruling on the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

  • The ruling was in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade, the landmark legislation that protected a woman’s right to have an abortion at the federal level.

  • In a separate opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas urged the court to reassess its rulings on contraceptives, same-sex relationships and same-sex marriage.

On Friday, the United States Supreme Court issued a final ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that federally protected a woman’s right to an abortion.

Shortly after SCOTUS’s ruling was issued, Justice Clarence Thomas called for a reassessment of other decisions that had been made based on the right to privacy stating that the court should reconsider past rulings on contraceptives, same-sex marriage and same-sex relationships.

Here are a few things to know about emergency contraception as the country begins to grapple with life in post-Roe America.

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Can I still get emergency contraception?

Yes. If a person has unprotected sex or contraception fails, emergency contraception is still an option. The most well-known emergency contraceptive is the morning-after pill which can come in two forms, pills of Levonorgestrel, like Plan B, or the brand Ella, which is made from ulipristal acetate.

Levonorgestrel pills can be purchased over the counter at a drug store or pharmacy with Plan B running at around $40 to $50. Ella is the most effective type of “morning-after” pill but a prescription is needed to get it.

Another form of emergency contraception is a copper intrauterine device, better known as an IUD, which is effective at preventing an unwanted pregnancy if inserted within five days of having unprotected sex.

How effective are emergency contraceptives?

If taken within three days of unprotected sex, “morning-after” pills like Plan B can lower a person’s chance of getting pregnant by 75 to 89 percent, according to Planned Parenthood. Ella can lower a person’s chance of getting pregnant by 85 percent if taken within five days of unprotected sex and the copper IUD lowers the chance of pregnancy by 99 percent within that same time frame. All of these forms of emergency contraceptive work better the sooner they are taken.

Is the morning-after pill the same as the abortion pill?

No. “Morning-after” pills are not abortives and work by temporarily stopping the release of an egg from an ovary. The pills will also not harm an existing pregnancy. The abortion pill refers to two medications that a person needs to take to end a pregnancy, mifepristone and misoprostol. Mifepristone used to be referred to as RU486, according to Planned Parenthood.

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