Since the election of Donald Trump there has been a rush to prepare for four years with potentially fewer birth control options.
It is very possible there will be a shift away from affordable birth control (you can currently get birth control pills for free through Obamacare) in the near future. If you are a vagina owner and know you would like to have penis-vagina sex in the next four years and not get pregnant, I highly recommend making an appointment for an IUD or an arm implant before January 20th. These birth control options will provide you with 99% effectiveness for an average of 3-5 years and are a great way to prevent pregnancy if you are not planning to get pregnant anytime soon.
It is possible that none of these options are right for you. Maybe you aren’t currently sexually active and you aren’t sure that is going to change in the next few years. Maybe you’ve had an IUD or used birth control pills before and you didn’t like how it affected your body. If you are not planning on long form type of birth control it is important that you know what your emergency options are (and you may want to get a few back ups in case they become harder to get in the next few years).
There are actually three kinds of emergency contraception.
There is Plan B (among other brands), which is commonly known as the morning after pill. This is the most accessible form of emergency contraception as it requires no prescription and can be bought at most drugstores. You can also get Plan B at Planned Parenthood, adolescent clinics such as The Door, and student health centers across the country. Plan B can be taken up to five days after unprotected sex (but it becomes less effective everyday) and usually costs between $30-$70. If you are not planning to be on a regular form of birth control over the next few years you may want to buy a few pills now as a back up plan.
The other two forms of emergency contraception are more effective but require a prescription and are usually available to those 17 and older (depending on your state).
One of these forms of emergency contraception is called Ella. Ella is also a morning after pill, but is more effective and can be taken up to 5 days after unprotected sex. Ella is also more effective for people who are heavier or have a higher body mass index (BMI). Ella requires a prescription, which can be obtained from a clinic, hospital, or online from the Ella website. Ella is a bit pricier, but a good choice if you’d like to be extra safe or have a high BMI.
Finally, there is the emergency contraception IUD, known as the ParaGard IUD (also known as a copper IUD). This IUD requires a prescription and a nurse or doctor to insert it, but it is the most effective form of emergency contraception (can be used up to 5 days after unprotected sex) and it can continued to be used as a safe form of birth control for up to twelve years. The ParaGard IUD is effective for people of all weights and is often covered by insurance (or at least it currently is).
As times change it is important that you know where to get emergency contraception if needed. Various organizations have been popping up to stock up on Plan B pills before January 20th, but until those are more fully formed organizations the best place to find a emergency contraception provider near you is this handy up-to-date search engine on Bedsider.
For more information on emergency contraception check out Planned Parenthood’s website here.