Emergency Contraception

What is emergency contraception (also known as “the morning-after pill”)?

  • Emergency contraception (EC) prevents pregnancy. EC will not disrupt an existing pregnancy.
  • EC pills that contain the progestin hormone levonorgestrel (LNG) are sold as Plan B One-Step®, Take Action™, My Way™, Aftera®, and others. One-pill LNG EC products are available over-the-counter (OTC) without age restrictions.
  • EC pills containing ulipristal acetate are sold under the brand name ella® and are prescription only.
  • EC pills work best if taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex but may work up to 5 days after.
  • EC is safe for people of all ages to use.

What are the restrictions for purchasing EC over-the-counter? Do customers need to show ID?

  • There are no age or point-of-sale restrictions on the OTC purchase of 1.5-mg LNG EC products (Plan B One-Step® and generic equivalents).
  • Ulipristal acetate (ella®) is available by prescription only.
  • Any person of any age can purchase LNG EC products without needing to show ID.
  • There is no limit on the number of packages that a person can purchase.
  • A person can get a prescription for LNG EC if they need that for insurance reimbursement.

Emergency contraception in Wyoming:

  • Many pharmacies and clinics stock various types of EC products.
  • Family planning clinics also have EC.

Other things that are good to know:

  • LNG EC may be less effective and ella® may be more effective for people who weigh more than 165 pounds.
  • LNG EC is preferable for people who need EC due to missed or late pills, patch, or ring.
  • Basic information about the EC methods available in the United States and ideas about how to be an advocate for EC are available here.

[Source: American Society for Emergency Contraception; American College of Clinical Pharmacy Women’s Health Practice & Research Network]

Emergency Contraception in the COVID-19 Era

The rapid spread of COVID-19 has highlighted fundamental gaps in the American health care system, weaknesses in the social fabric, and racial and economic disparities. Access to reproductive health care is as essential as ever, yet the pandemic layers new barriers upon existing challenges. Now more than ever, emergency contraception (EC) is an important option for individuals who want to prevent pregnancy on their own terms. Having EC on hand before it is needed can make that a possibility any time, but particularly during this crisis. In this fact sheet, the American Society for Emergency Contraception describes the importance of EC during this crisis and recommends strategies for obtaining a supply of EC pills to keep on hand before it is needed.