emergency contraception

noun

: drugs (such as the morning-after pill) or devices (such as an IUD) that are used to prevent fertilization or delay or prevent ovulation following unprotected sexual intercourse or contraceptive failure
Emergency contraception can prevent pregnancy after you've had sex without birth control or after your birth control method has failed—say, the condom broke or slipped off, your diaphragm got knocked out of place, or you forgot to take your birth control pills.The Courier-Times (Roxboro, North Carolina)
There has been confusion about whether emergency contraception is an abortifacient—that is, a medication that triggers an abortion. The key difference is that the abortion pill works only when a woman is pregnant, and emergency contraception works only when she is not.Amie Ashcraft

Examples of emergency contraception in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But dozens of clinics closed post-Dobbs – and the new study found that declines in emergency contraception prescriptions were greatest in states that saw more widespread closures of family planning clinics. Deidre McPhillips, CNN, 26 June 2024 Other essential health services, such as IVF and emergency contraception, could be at risk next. Sandra Rose Salathe, Flow Space, 14 June 2024 According to polling conducted by news website FiveThirtyEight in 2022, 81% of Americans support the use of IUDs, and 70% support emergency contraception. Nicole Blanchard, Idaho Statesman, 7 June 2024 There are two types of emergency contraception: pills containing progestin and the copper IUD.12 Emergency contraceptive pills are available over the counter or by prescription. Sarah Klein, Health, 28 May 2024 Texas’s family-planning program bars funding from going to emergency contraception. Jill Filipovic, TIME, 20 May 2024 Launched in late 2022, Julie aims to put a fun and accessible spin on emergency contraception. Emma Hinchliffe, Fortune, 18 Mar. 2024 Another had taken emergency contraception after having been date-raped but still became pregnant. Bracey Harris, NBC News, 10 Apr. 2024 But Americans' access to emergency contraception remains unchanged for now. Nicole Fallert, USA TODAY, 26 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'emergency contraception.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1972, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of emergency contraception was in 1972

Dictionary Entries Near emergency contraception

Cite this Entry

“Emergency contraception.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/emergency%20contraception. Accessed 25 Jul. 2024.

Medical Definition

emergency contraception

noun
: drugs (such as the morning-after pill) or devices (such as an IUD) that are used to prevent fertilization or delay or prevent ovulation following unprotected sexual intercourse or contraceptive failure
Emergency contraception sometimes is confused with medical abortion. Medical abortion is used to terminate an existing pregnancy, whereas emergency contraception is effective only before a pregnancy is established. Emergency contraception can prevent pregnancy after sexual intercourse and is ineffective after implantation.American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Plan B, a progestin-only method of emergency contraception (0.75 mg of levonorgestrel within 72 hours and repeated 12 hours later), is not only better tolerated in terms of adverse effect profile, but also slightly more effective.Jeffrey F. Peipert, The Journal of the American Medical Association
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