The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Emergency contraception: what you should know in case of an uh-oh

By Emily Smith

Emergency contraception prevents pregnancy following unprotected sex, forced sex, a condom breaking, forgetting a birth control pill, et cetera. It may be taken up to 120 hours after unprotected sex, but the sooner it is taken, the more likely it is to be effective.

Emergency contraception (EC) may be confused with RU-486, the abortion pill, but they are not the same thing. EC prevents ovulation and fertilization, but it does not abort an existing pregnancy.In other words, if you are already pregnant, EC won’t harm the embryo—but remember, you can get pregnant several days after unprotected sex. So if you’re not already pregnant, the sooner you take EC, the better.

For more details on EC, visit

Two fairly recent medical developments you should know about:

1. Emergency contraception, commonly known as the “morning after” pill, is available over-the-counter if you’re 18. (Prescriptions are still required for anyone under 18.)

2. Pharmacists who oppose birth control may legally refuse to dispense it—regardless of your prescription.

Winton Health Services dispenses EC but requires a short office visit to determine whether you fit the criteria for taking it, and how factors such as where you are in your menstrual cycle may affect your reaction. The office visit is free, and the EC costs $40.

The problem? Winton is closed on the weekends, when Macalester students are more likely to have the risky encounters that demand emergency birth control.

Below is a list of pharmacies within walking distance (or a quick bus ride) from campus. Their hours, phone numbers, and the cost of EC are listed. Each one was phoned to ask whether any pharmacists there may refuse to dispense EC, and most of them replied no.

Where to buy emergency contraception

Best availability:
Cost: $44.99
Store & pharmacy phone: 651-917-2001
Pharmacy open 24 hours.

No pharmacists at this location refuse to dispense EC.

Family Tree Clinic
(1619 Dayton Avenue, seven blocks north of campus)
Cost: $25
Phone: 651-645-0478
Hours: M & W 8:30am-8:30pm
Tu & Th: 8:30am-5:30pm
Requires a brief educational appointment the first time someone buys EC. Any time thereafter, she can call in and they will have it ready for her.

(Randolph & Snelling)
Cost: $41.99
Store phone: 651-698-6150
Pharmacy phone: 651-698-6502
Pharmacy open 24 hours.

Note: Some pharmacists at this location refuse to dispense EC.

Saint Paul Corner Drug
(NE corner of Snelling & St. Clair)
Cost: $50
Phone: 651-698-8859
Hours: M-F 8:30am-7:30pm
Sat.: 8:30am-5:00pm
Closed Sundays
No pharmacists at this location refuse to dispense EC.

Cost: $41.99
Store phone: 651-646-6165
Pharmacy phone: 651-646-6163
Pharmacy hours: M-F 8:00am-10:00pm
Sat.: 8:00am-6:00pm
Sun.: 10:00am-6:00pm
No pharmacists at this location refuse to dispense EC, and the pharmacist I spoke to was very friendly!

Cost: $43.09
Store phone: 651-642-1146
Pharmacy phone: 651-646-8002
Pharmacy hours: M-F: 9:00am-9:00pm
Sat. & Sun.: 9:00am-6:00pm
No pharmacists at this location refuse to dispense EC.

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