The 411: Since 1994, The Emergency Contraception Website has been a leading support system for women, providing them with valuable information about birth control and a searchable database of emergency contraception providers in the U.S.
Twenty-one years ago, when the Internet was still in its infancy, there wasn’t a lot of data out there about emergency contraception, and Dr. James Trussell wanted to change that.
With the recent release of Robert A. Hatcher’s “Emergency Contraception: The Nation’s Best Kept Secret,” Trussell thought why stop there? What followed was the national 1-888-NOT-2-LATE hotline and The Emergency Contraception Website (Not-2-Late), the first reproductive health website to offer scientific and trustworthy facts and advice to women, their partners, teens, physicians and more.
“In that time, at the end of 1994, the only people who had access to the Internet were people at universities or the military, so we got off to a slow start with the website,” said Trussell, a Senior Research Demographer in the Office of Population Research at Princeton University. “That changed when more and more people had access.”
And the organization has been going strong ever since.
Operated by the Office of Population Research at Princeton University and the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, Not-2-Late is the best place to go if you want to prevent pregnancy after sex.
Trussell and his team have no connections to companies that manufacture or sell emergency contraceptives, so you know they honestly just want to help people. In fact, the website funders have included the Educational Foundation of America, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Compton Foundation and the John Merck Fund.
We spoke with Trussell to learn more about his goals for Not-2-Late, the importance of working with the community in order to make a change and the positive impact the site has made on hundreds of thousands of people.
Knowledge = Power
According to the Not-2-Late About page, the mission of the site is to “increase women’s knowledge about and timely access to emergency contraception and other reproductive health choices, both in the United States and abroad,” which includes:
- Providing accurate information about emergency contraception derived from the medical literature, including information about correct use, effectiveness and expected side effects. All content is peer reviewed by a panel of independent experts.
- Providing a searchable database of emergency contraceptive providers in the United States
- Providing a searchable database of emergency contraceptive pills in every country
- Informing women and their partners how they can use regular contraceptive pills for emergency contraception
- Serving as a resource to clinicians, pharmacists, researchers, media representatives, policymakers and others seeking up-to-date scientifically-based information about emergency contraception
Teamwork is of the utmost importance at Not-2-Late, and that’s how they’re able to make these goals a reality.
Recently Not-2-Late and Bedsider.org got together to create a locator for pharmacies that provide emergency contraceptive pills, which gets updated every few months, as well as release informative publications about emergency contraception on a regular basis.
It’s also the variety of content that makes Not-2-Late such a reliable resource, helping users learn about the different types of emergency contraception methods and choose the best one for them, including Trussell’s recommendation of an IUD, which can be used up to five days after unprotected sex and has two advantages over the emergency contraceptive pill.
“One, it is far far more effective, with a risk of only one in 1,000 as opposed to .5 to 2 percent by the emergency contraceptive pill. Even more importantly, it can be left in place, which can be extremely effective for birth control contraception for at least 10 years, probably 15 years,” Trussell said. “Once it’s there, your emergency contraceptive is already taken care of, whereas if you take an emergency contraceptive pill to protect against getting pregnant today from having sex last night, it’s not going to protect you against getting pregnant from sex this weekend.”
On the front lines of real change
Thanks to Trussell’s groundbreaking work in population research and his passion for progress, Not-2-Late has become a place where people can openly discuss and gain insights about emergency contraception, an often polarizing topic.
People of different backgrounds, genders, professions and ages can access quality information, find providers near them (or list their services in the database), obtain the emergency contraception that fits their lifestyle and so much more.
And it’s through collaborations with other organizations like Bedsider that puts Not-2-Late at the forefront of a societal transformation, making emergency contraception more easily accessible to the masses, and therefore helping individual women avoid an unintended pregnancy and the consequent need for abortion.
“I think we provide a valuable resource to women and health care professionals,” Trussell said.
For more information, visit ec.princeton.edu.