If you are 17 or older, you can buy emergency contraception at a pharmacy without a prescription.

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Think you need a prescription, or someone’s permission, to get Emergency Contraception (aka The Morning After Pill) if you are 17 or older? Think again. Teens in California can get EC over the counter at most pharmacies by simply walking in and paying for it. Here are a few EC tips:

  • Take it as soon as possible after unprotected sex
  • It is still effective up to FIVE days after unprotected sex
  • It is completely different from the “abortion pill” – RU486
  • It does NOT protect against STIs
  • You can take it as many times as you need – but better to practice SAFE SEX!
  • Many teen clinics and other reproductive health clinics keep EC IN their clinics – no need to even go to a pharmacy! In California a clinic can set you up with free EC – just drop in and sign up for Family Pact. Check out the clinic finder or go to http//familypact.org or call 1-800-942-1054 to find EC near you.
  • Emergency contraception is sometimes called Plan B 1 Step®, NextChoice®, or ella®

How does EC work?

EC is either one or two very safe pills made from the same hormones your body makes. When a certain EC is taken soon after unprotected sex, it can prevent pregnancy by preventing or delaying ovulation. Ovulation is when the egg leaves the ovary. A pregnancy can’t happen when there is no egg to meet with sperm.

More Resources

  • The National EC Hotline website at www.not-2-late.com and 1-888-668-2528 can also be used to find EC anywhere in the United States.
  • Read more about EC and other sex related issues at www.teensource.org