It’s late. You’ve had a drink (or four). You’re in your room with a sexy someone going at it. Suddenly he stops and makes a face of horror. “I think the condom broke.”*

 “Fuck,” you say.

 “That’s the problem,” he says.

 “Shit,” you say.

 “Yeah, shit.”

 After a debate about the impregnating power of precum (answer: it has none, but it can contain sperm from previous ejaculations) you decide on a course of action. It’s not ideal, since it’s the middle of the night, may cost some money and will probably feel embarrassing. But, given the circumstances, it’s the best you’ve got.
 It’s time for Plan B.

 (Or more accurately, it’s time for emergency contraception. There are a few types.) 
If you, like me, binge-watched “Master of None” over break, this scene is familiar to you. Dev (Aziz Ansari), the main character, mitigates the embarrassment by buying Martinelli’s apple juice, which seems like a great idea to me. But y’all should know that there’s nothing embarrassing about avoiding unplanned pregnancy.

 There are many reasons why a person might take the morning-after pill, and I’m not here to enumerate or judge them. Plenty of us have been in this situation and plenty more will be. I’ve been there (during my first year fall, incidentally), and it was fine. However, there are a few things I wish I had known. 

Q: What exactly is emergency contraception?**
 A: There are a few types: “ella” (ulipristal acetate), Plan B One-Step (what people are referring to when they say “Plan B” and also the most available option for Bowdoin students) and Next Choice One Dose (both levonorgestrel). Three years ago when I took Plan B it was two-step, meaning there were two pills that you had to take twelve hours apart. Now it’s just one. Wow, science!

 Q: How does the morning after pill work?
A: It prevents the ovaries from releasing an egg. It takes up to six days after sex for this to happen, and if the egg stays out of the uterus it can’t hook up with the sperm. Boom! No babies.

 Q: Is using emergency contraception bad for you?
 A: Nope. No serious side effects have been reported. Some people have minor side effects, like nausea and breast tenderness. I had none, except for anxiety about where to throw the box away.

 Q: Is the morning-after pill an abortion pill?
A: No, neither type of morning-after pill will end an existing pregnancy. The “abortion pill” refers to mifepristone and misoprostol, and you have a right to that too.

Q: How can I get emergency contraception at Bowdoin?

You can get FREE Plan B at the Bowdoin Health Center (they don’t prescribe ella). You call, make an appointment and pick it up. This is a little different from how it used to work. Peer Health used to do “Plan B Day,” where they gave away Plan B for students to have on hand. Now, you have to go to the Health Center to talk about “Plan A,” in order to get your Plan B. I know, the extra step sounds tedious. But it’s free, which is nice.

But the Health Center isn’t open on the weekends, I hear you thinking. When else would I need Plan B??

You’re right! LUCKILY, Bowdoin has this great deal where you can buy Plan B at Rite Aid and they will REIMBURSE YOU, as long as you bring your receipt back to the Health Center. Granted, it costs $49.99, which is an upfront chunk of change. If you ever go this route, I recommend you go Dutch.

 Q: Who can buy the morning-after pill?
 A: Anyone, any age, can buy Plan B over the counter without a prescription. However, you do need a prescription for ella. The politics of this are messy, but the trend is that emergency contraception is becoming more accessible in the United States.

 Q: How long after unprotected sex is emergency contraception effective?
 A: Five days, but Plan B is less effective the longer you wait. Ella is equally effective for all five days.

If you’ve got more questions you should probably holler at someone in the Health Center. I’m just a woman trying to de-stigmatize reproductive justice in print, not a medical professional.
 I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention STIs (sexually transmitted infections), and I want to stay in Julie Gray’s good book. Taking emergency contraception won’t protect against STIs, and STIs are a concern for people of all genders and sexualities, so let’s all get tested regularly. Thankfully, the most common STIs in our demographic—gonorrhea and chlamydia—respond easily to antibiotics.

So go forth, UBears, and tackle your sexcapades with your brains turned on. Emergency contraception is an option, and we’ve all got the judgment to know when it’s the best one. 

*I’m assuming a heterosexual couple and a female subject. Just writing from my experience here, folks. 

**All the information in this column that seems to be researched is. I’ve relied heavily on the Planned Parenthood website and the expertise of Julie Gray, P.A. at the Health Center.