Top 10 Myths About Safe Sex and Sexual Health

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MYTH: The “morning after” pill causes an abortion

Plan B, also known as the “morning after” pill, is not the same as RU-486, a pill that causes an abortion. In fact, if you take Plan B when you’re already pregnant—that is, if a fertilized egg has attached to the wall of your uterus—it won’t make a bit of difference.

In previous research, more than 30% of sexually active adolescents said that they believed emergency contraceptives induce abortion. And in Dr. Yen’s study, 10 of the 34 websites studied failed to mention the difference between the two drugs.

“No one likes the word ‘abortion’,” says Dr. Yen, “so I think a lot of websites aren’t going to state that Plan B is not, in fact, an abortive agent.”

MYTH: The “morning after” pill is not available to minors without a prescription

As of April 2009, Plan B is available to women ages 17 and up, nationwide, over the counter without a prescription. (You just need to ask the pharmacist.) It has been available over the counter for those 18 and up since 2006, while individual states could make their own rulings about availability to minors.

Nine states—Alaska, California, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Washington, and Vermont—have sold and will continue to sell Plan B directly to women of any age.

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