I grew up in a pretty religious household. Not the kind that goes to church every Sunday morning, but the kind that doesn’t let you don’t take the Lord’s name in vain. Because of my religious background, abortion was my biggest fear. I’ve been pro-choice my entire life, and I always had the choice to get an abortion. But in the back of my mind, I heard an old church pastor saying that if I got an abortion, I’d go straight to hell.
Because I was so afraid of the possibility, I was always prepared for sex no matter what. I’d make sure I got the best condoms, check that I wasn’t ovulating—the works. For about 21 years, nothing went wrong. But in 2019, my boyfriend was an older man who didn't care too much about safe sex. In fact, he'd frequently ask me if he could go without a condom when we had sex.
Sadly, one time, he came inside me without any protection whatsoever—which led to the biggest panic attack I've ever had in my life. I was clinging to the sink, trying to catch my breath as I locked the door behind me. He tried to hug me, but I didn’t want to be touched. I felt nothing but pure panic. The only thing on my mind was getting Plan B ASAP, something I’d never done before.
Plan B, or the "morning-after pill," is a form of emergency contraception. The pill can prevent pregnancy within 72 hours of something going wrong. Whether it be the condom broke, you forgot to take your pill, or in my case, you're dating an asshole, Plan B is there to save the day. There are a few things to know right off the bat about Plan B:
It isn’t used for abortions, but to prevent pregnancy from taking place.
It doesn’t help the prevention of STDs and STIs.
It has a success rate of 60-90%.
The sooner you take it, the better the results will be.
It doesn't work for women who weigh more than 175 pounds and loses its effectiveness after 165 pounds.
Plan B contains a higher dose of a hormone called levonorgestrel—the same hormone found in Skyla and Mirena IUDs.
Now, anyone can access Plan B since it’s over the counter! There are no age restrictions or prescriptions needed. You can go in and out in a snap. In the U.S., Plan B is available in multiple stores such as CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Target, and Walmart. Their site advises that if you don’t see one on the shelf, you should ask a pharmacist if there are any boxes. Plus, neither option will require a prescription or ID. (They can’t ask you for your ID or prescription thanks to a 2013 FDA ruling in favor of everyone gaining access to levonorgestrel-based emergency contraception.)
While it’s easy to purchase, it’s not so easy to get. In most convenience stores, it’s enclosed behind a casing that only employees can access. The casing is great for possible theft, but it defeats the purpose for those attempting to buy it covertly. The other roadblock is the price. Plan B averages around $50-60 in stores, something a lot of people can’t afford to drop on a dime. For me, Plan B was pretty easy to access. But going to buy it was humiliating. Everyone gave me, and my partner at the time, judgmental stares.
Like almost everything in life, there’s a catch. Plan B can cause side effects like
Lower abdominal cramps
Along with that, it can also alter your period for a while. Which is terrifying in retrospect. I remember that after taking Plan B my period was a week late and I was convinced it hadn’t worked. Luckily, it had.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you may not feel any symptoms at all. While I had no side effects, it took a toll on me emotionally and on my relationship. Not only was I filled with panic until I finally felt my period come after a fateful sneeze, but I didn’t trust my partner anymore.
The last thing to keep in mind is to stay aware of severe ab pain. If you experience severe ab pain, there is a slight chance that you may have an ectopic pregnancy. If that’s the case, you should seek immediate medical attention. Also, don’t worry—no deaths or lasting complications are associated with Plan B.
The aftermath wasn't anything too crazy. It made me grateful that I had access to it, but it also made me never want to deal with the situation again. Keep in mind, getting Plan B isn’t the end of the world. It’s there to help you get out of an unwanted situation, no matter the circumstances. And if you were wondering, yes, we broke up after that.