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Straight Talk About the Morning After Pill

After an unexpected sexual encounter, a young woman comes home, takes a pill before bed and another late the next morning. No more pregnancy. What's wrong with this picture?

Recent developments in medicine have brought new dilemmas to the abortion debate. In December 2003, a panel of advisors recommended to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) that the "Plan B" morning after pill be made available over the counter without prescription. The FDA usually follows these recommendations.

In 2004, the FDA not only delayed their decision to approve this recommendation, but also emphasized the social implications of making such a product so widely available. They tabled their decision until a later time.

Fast forward to August 2006 when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the contraceptive drug Plan B for over-the-counter sales. It now available over-the-counter to women 18 and older. The drug remains available to women under 18, but by prescription only. If you are a sexually active woman, or are thinking about becoming sexually active, you need to educate yourself about this subject.
The Morning After Pill is called MAP for short. The version of MAP being considered by the FDA is called "Plan B". It consists of 2 tablets of levonorgestrel (progestin) taken 12 hours apart, generally within 72 hours of intercourse. The Yuzpe regimen is another type of MAP that uses a combination of hormones to achieve the same effect. It works by preventing or delaying ovulation, preventing the egg from being fertilized or preventing implantation of the fertilized egg.
Possible side effects include:
  • Nausea and vomiting (especially in the Yuzpe regimen)
  • Irregular and unpredictable menstrual periods (especially on multiple uses)
  • Ectopic (tubal) pregnancies, which can be life-threatening
  • Breast tenderness
  • Infertility
Women who choose to use MAP will never know which has happened, because MAP can be both. If a woman has not yet ovulated, MAP works as a contraceptive by suppressing ovulation. However, if she has become pregnant, but the embryo has not yet implanted, the use of MAP is an abortion. Chemicals such as these that cause abortion are called “abortifacients”.
Yes on both counts. However, in order to say this, “when life begins” had to be redefined to fit the purpose. In an effort to make MAP more acceptable to the general public, the well known truth about when life begins is simply ignored. If you “change the rules” and say life begins not at conception (fertilization), but implantation (7-10 days later), now MAP is not an abortifacient drug. But is this true, or just changing truth to fit the situation?

Source: The Morning After Pill: Get the Facts, Heritage House '76, Inc. Used by permission.

FOR IMMEDIATE HELP: Go to pregnancydecisionline.org or call 877-791-5475 for Pregnancy Decision Coaching