Our mission is to make emergency contraception (EC) accessible to all Marylanders, including college students. Emergency contraception (EC), sometimes called “the morning-after pill,” is birth control that significantly reduces the chances of becoming pregnant if taken soon after sex. It may prevent a pregnancy before it occurs. It has no effect on an existing pregnancy.
Emergency contraception is safe and effective, and works best when taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex. Most types of EC can work up to three days after sex, and some prescription products can be taken up to five days after sex.
Most forms of emergency contraception are available on pharmacy shelves, without a prescription, to anyone of any age. Under the Maryland Contraceptive Equity Act, state-sponsored health insurance policies must cover the cost of over-the-counter EC with no copay. However, some pharmacies may try to ask unnecessary questions or claim that there are age restrictions. For this reason, it is important to know your rights as a consumer of EC — you can read more about this on our Emergency Contraception page.
The Truth About Emergency Contraception
Anti-choice groups have long run a coordinated misinformation campaign to confuse people about EC—with one false claim being that it causes abortion. Emergency contraception does NOT cause abortion, but many remain confused about the difference between EC and medication abortion.
It’s important for everyone to understand options for emergency contraception before it’s needed. That’s one of the reasons we believe emergency contraception should be available over the counter, as well as at school-based health centers and college campuses.
Emergency Contraception Access is Reproductive Justice
Increasing the scope of sexual and reproductive healthcare in college-based health and wellness centers, helping students gain more timely access to emergency contraception on-campus, and supporting pregnant and parenting students so they may realize their family formation and education goals is tantamount to creating an environment where reproductive freedom is a reality. Our policy research and organizing led to the introduction of the first statewide bill in the nation requiring public universities to offer students 24/7 over-the-counter emergency contraception. Through a successful campaign, students and staff helped the University of Maryland College Park become the first campus in the state to offer emergency contraception at their 24-hour convenience stores in 2017.
Our Legal & Policy interns are working tirelessly to increase access to EC on college campuses throughout the State of Maryland, as well as to compile a map of which stores and pharmacies offer the easiest access to EC.