Is emergency contraception the same as abortion?

Reproductive Health

TL, DR: No. Emergency contraception prevents pregnancy. It does not end a pregnancy. For a person who doesn’t want to be pregnant, it helps *prevent* the need for abortion.

There are two types of emergency contraception, pills and IUDs (intrauterine devices).

The hormonal pills that contain only the hormone levonorgestrel are available over the counter without a prescription, such as Plan B One-Step®, Next Choice One Dose®, and others. They are available for people of any age and can reduce the risk of pregnancy by up to 85%, though they are less effective if you weigh over 165 pounds. They can be purchased at a drug store or even online, which is a good option for those who wish to keep things private. They are most effective if used within three days of unprotected sex.

One brand of pill, ella®, does require a prescription. It is more effective than the levonorgestrel pills. If you weigh between 165lbs and 195lbs, this is a great option for you., They are effective up to 5 days after unprotected sex.

It is important to take these medications as soon as possible after unprotected sex, as they work by delaying the release of the egg from the ovary, thereby preventing fertilization from occurring. They do not harm an established pregnancy.

**It is important to note that these emergency contraception pills are not abortion pills. They *prevent pregnancy*. They do not end a pregnancy.

IUDs (intrauterine devices) are the most effective option for emergency contraception, especially for people over 195 pounds. They do require a visit to a clinic for a short procedure.

IUDs are small, t-shaped devices made of plastic and with one type, copper. An IUD is inserted into the uterus and has several ways of working: 1) it slows down and weakens sperm, so the sperm have a hard time fertilizing an egg; 2) hormonal IUDs thicken cervical mucous, which makes it harder for sperm to reach the uterus; 3) in the unlikely event that an egg *does* get fertilized, the copper IUD prevents it from attaching to the uterus. Some people choose to avoid the copper IUD for that reason. It will not, however, cause harm to a fertilized egg that has already attached to the uterus.

In summary, no type of emergency contraception harms an established pregnancy. Most work by preventing fertilization in the first place. For that reason, they are contraception, not a form of abortion, and are still available in all 50 states.

Stay well. Stay informed.


Those Nerdy Girls