You stood baffled – you thought you had covered your bases. You had topped off the gas tank on the way home and had carefully brushed away signs of sand on the mats in the car well. Everyone had been asleep when you crept through the back door. But here you were standing before Dad, madly thinking of something, anything, to side step the possible consequences of the night before. Yes, you intended to be at your girlfriend’s house. But one thing led to another and somehow you ended up at the Oregon Coast.
Romantic relationships are like that – passion trumps sanity and you end up the next day trying to avoid unintended outcomes. For anyone who has had unprotected sex, the temptation might be to “quick, find out where to purchase emergency contraception!” – don’t they call it Plan B for a reason?
But before swallowing, take a moment and ask “What is Plan B (emergency contraception), really?” What does it “do” to undo the consequences of the night before? Could consequences be compounded from taking it?
So, here are a few things you should know:
Emergency contraception (EC) is commonly sold as Plan B One-Step® and ella®. Both versions of EC are unique and come with their own set of side effects and risks. It’s important to understand the difference. Read more information about Plan B and ella.
Generally speaking, these medications are reported to work in one of several ways: delaying ovulation, blocking sperm from joining with an egg, or preventing a fertilized egg from implanting – some may consider this an early abortion.
EC may not prevent pregnancy altogether. It is possible that EC won’t prevent Mr. Sperm from meeting Miss Egg (this meeting is referred to as conception) and instead prevents the newly acquainted fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus, ending a very early pregnancy, rather than preventing the pregnancy altogether.1
EC does not prevent the spread of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).
There are other potential risks and side effects to be considered, such as headache, nausea, abdominal pain or dizziness.2
While at first glance emergency contraception seems like a great idea to prevent that unwanted pregnancy, it’s an option that can end a human life or leave you unprotected from an STI – both of which are probably not a part of the original plan to erase the effects of last night.
1Before You Decide Magazine. CareNet. 2014, page 7.
2Need to Know About Emergency Contraception? Pregnancy Decision Line. <http://pregnancydecisionline.org/questions/#need-to-know-about-the-morning-after-pill>
About Janie Crane
Janie currently serves at Pregnancy Choices in Mount Vernon, Washington as the Pregnancy Resources Program Director where she oversees pregnancy testing and crisis pregnancy coaching. She is a certified Crisis Pregnancy Coach through the American Association of Christian Counselors and CareNet. She has also coordinated mentor programs for teen moms through Young Life. In true Pacific Northwest fashion, she enjoys running, hiking, mountain biking and skiing with her husband and husky. She also has a Masters of Arts in Theology from Fuller Northwest emphasizing in Christian ethics.