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Plan B

Is it contraception or not?

Population Research Institute created an informational video to help understand how Plan B works. Check it out!

We would love to hear from you and answer your questions, so be sure to comment!


Vocabulary* to help you understand the video

Fallopian tube: One of the two tubes that transport the egg from the ovary to the uterus (the womb).

Uterus (womb): a major female hormone-responsive reproductive sex organ. One end, the cervix opens into the vagina, while the other is connected to both fallopian tubes. It is within the uterus that the fetus develops during gestation.

Period (Menstrual phase): the phase in the menstrual cycle in which the functional layer of the uterine wall is sloughed off and discarded with the menstrual flow (menses, monthly bleeding), which usually lasts 4 to 5 days.

Ovulation: when a developed egg (ovum, secondary ooctye) is released from the ovary into the fallopian tube for possible fertilization.

Sperm (spermatozoon, sperma): the male germ cell produced in the testes (testicles).

Egg (Oocyte, ovum): the germo or sex cells, when mature, the oocytes are called secondary oocytes or mature oocytes.


Fertilization (conception): the moment at a sperm penetrates the egg. This can occur between 5 minutes to 5 days  after intercourse. All 46 chromosomes are present at this moment—23 from mum and 23 from dad. The child’s gender, eye colour, hair colour and many other things is already decided. All that is needed is time for the child to grow.

Zygote: a highly specialized totipotent cell which is formed when the male sperm unites with a female gamete and which marks the beginning of human development.

Preimplantation period: the time between fertilization and the beginning of implantation, a period of approximately 6 days.

Implantation: the process during which the blastocyst attaches to the endometrium, the mucous membrane or lining of the uterus, and subsequently embeds in it.

Embryo: The developing human during its early stages of development.The embryonic period extends to the end of the eighth week (56 days), by which time the beginnings of all major structures are present.

Fetus: unborn offspring; after the embryonic period (8 weeks) and until birth, the developing human is called a fetus. During the fetal period (ninth week to birth), differentiation and growth of the tissues and organs formed during the embryonic period occur.


Plan B:  a tablet with levonorgestrel, taken as a single dose of 1.5 mg within 120 hours (5 days) of intercourse.

Levonorgestrel: a progestogen 

Progestogen: a synthetic progesterone (a sex hormone). It that has some of the activity of progesterone ; unlike progesterone, however, some progestogens have estorgenic (like estrogen) or androgenic (like the male hormone androgen) properties.

Contraception: Those actions which would impede a sperm and egg from meeting during intercourse, either through barrier methods or by preventing ovulation

Abortifacient: any medication or substance that causes  pregnancy to end prematurely.

Embryocidal: pertaining to killing an embryo, any agent that destroys the zygote after conception up until embryo implantation


Q and A:

Q: Abortion is already legal—why all the fuss?

A: It's one thing for abortions to be marketed as abortions, but Plan B is not being marketed as an abortifacient, it’s being marketed as a contraceptive.


Q: The video says that "studies show that women ovulate normally when taking Plan b." Which studies?

A: These ones

Brache, Vivian, et al. "Ulipristal acetate prevents ovulation more effectively than levonorgestrel-Analysis of pooled data from three randomized trials of emergency contraception regimens." Contraception (2013).

Mozzanega, Bruno, and Erich Cosmi. "How do levonorgestrel-only emergency contraceptive pills prevent pregnancy? Some considerations." Gynecological Endocrinology 27.6 (2011): 439-442.

Noé, Gabriela, et al. "Contraceptive efficacy of emergency contraception with levonorgestrel given before or after ovulation." Contraception 81.5 (2010): 414-420.

Peck, Rebecca, et al. "The Postovulatroy Mechanism of Actio of Plan B: A Review of the Scientific Literature." The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly. (2013). 


Media, References, and other fun links

You can check out the Plan B one-step website here, where you can also find them saying that their product does act to prevent implantation: 








Visit Expose Plan B to see undercover videos on Plan B being used by statutory rapists—and ways you can take action.







"The Atlantic" had an interesting article: "The Pill: Contraceptive or Abortifacient?"

"Christianity Today" had an article "Does Plan B Cause Abortion?" giving voice to both sides of the issue. 
plan b weight emergency contraception 165 pounds
"Women in the World" discussed the weight issue surrounding the pill.
Population Research Institute released a press release regarding the video, which you can read here.
*Medical definitions came from the 8th edition of The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryolgy, by Keith Moore and T.V.N. Persuad.

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