Emergency Contraception

Emergency contraception, sometimes called "the morning-after pill," can be taken up to 120 hours (5 days) after unprotected intercourse to reduce the risk of pregnancy by 75%- 89%. Ideally, it should be taken as soon as possible after intercourse, preferably within 72 hours (3 days), for best effectiveness. Emergency contraception contains hormones that inhibit ovulation and implantation and requires a prescription from a licensed health care practitioner in MD, NJ, PA and VA. This medication prevents pregnancy after unprotected intercourse, but does not cause abortion and will not be successful if you are already pregnant. We will administer a pregnancy test to you at your appointment. American Women's Services offices can accommodate same-day or next day appointments in most offices for emergency contraception. You will receive a consultation, two sets of pills and instructions for taking them.

Emergency Contraception is a good back-up option if:

  • Primary contraception fails (Condom breaks, Diaphragm slips out of place)
  • Contraception was used incorrectly (Forgot to take the pill, Late Depo-Provera shot, Condom used incorrectly)
  • No contraception was used (Contraception was not available, Intercourse was unplanned, Sexual assault*)

* If you have been sexually assaulted, we can assist you with emergency contraception if you wish, but we urge you to go to the hospital and/or the police immediately. They have many resources available to assist you, including emergency contraception. If you need someone to talk to, no matter how long it has been, the National Sexual Assault Hotline can help. You can reach them at 800-656-HOPE.