Emergency contraception: What is it and where to get it

plan b illustration
Mosaic has collaborated with Layout Editor and Illustrator Sam Ford to create a map of the places on campus that offer Plan B and the prices at which it is sold.

Managing Mosaic Editor

Heard in high school and around campus:

“I heard you can’t take it with birth control.”

“If you take a bunch of birth control, it does the same exact thing.”

“I don’t even know if it works. I just hope for the best.”

Although most women have heard of the emergency contraceptive Plan B and know of other off-brands versions of it, there are often huge misunderstandings surrounding what this pill does, where it can be obtained and how it can be safely taken. This information is easily and readily available across campus, although it is not publicized.

Eleni Fincklestein, a junior studying political science, is the vice president of Planned Parenthood: Generation Action, a Resident Student Organization that seeks to encourage reproductive and sexual health among students on campus.

This week, Mosaic sat down with Fincklestein to have her explain to students what the pill does, information to be cognizant of when taking it and where to obtain the pill.

“The morning after pill is an emergency contraceptive,” Fincklestein says. “You can take it up to five days after unprotected sex. The sooner you take it, the better it works, so I would recommend taking it ASAP.”

According to Finckelstein, Plan B and other emergency contraception pills work through hormones that can prevent unwanted pregnancy. She cautions that students using emergency contraception read all the instructions prior to usage, as there are often some parameters to emergency contraception. For example, many pills are less likely to work if the user is over 155 pounds.

Additionally, Fincklestein notes that some brands of birth control can be taken as a replacement for Plan B, but users should only do so in dire situations.

“In extreme cases of emergency, you can take multiple birth control pills to replace the morning after pill,” Finckelstein says. “But check the Planned Parenthood website because there are some pills that don’t work.”

As a general caution, Fincklestein warns that users should always read the instructions and side-effects that accompany the pill.

“There are some side effects like nausea, vomiting and dizziness,” Fincklestein says. “But they’re pretty rare.”

Overall, Fincklestein believes that while many people are aware of Plan B and other emergency contraceptives, they do not know as much as they need to know.

“People always know what it is,” Fincklestein says. “But they don’t know enough about it to consider it an actual option.”

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