I am a huge advocate of the morning after pill. I feel it really is
one of our best options to help eliminate -- or at least reduce --
unwanted pregnancies and abortions.
The problem is that there is a great lack of understanding about
how this pill works. People tend to confuse it with RU486 -- the
true abortion pill. RU486 is now available in our country and it
does, in fact, cause an abortion in the first trimester of
While I am in favor of the law of the land and Iím glad women
have choice, I am very uncomfortable with abortion. If the
morning after pill worked by impairing implantation or causing an
abortion, I would not be such a strong advocate of it.
It turns out that the morning after pill -- or emergency
contraception -- works exactly the same way as the daily birth
control pill. There is really no difference whatsoever. The morning
after pill is basically a double dosage of contraception used
within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse. The daily
contraceptive pill that many women take suppresses an egg
from being released by an ovary. Hence, there can never be
fertilization. However, there is a small risk that an ovulation
could occur, and if it does, there is also a small risk that the pill
could impede implantation of that fertilized egg.
For reasons I cannot understand, activists have chosen to
attack the morning after pill form of contraception, believing that
its primary mechanism is impairing implantation of a fertilized
egg. This cannot be further from the truth.
If people wanted to attack emergency contraception based on
its scientific mechanism of action, in order to be philosophically
consistent they would also have to work to eliminate all forms of
the pill and a couple of anti-inflammatory drugs -- Vioxx and
Celebrex -- which also tend to have some effect on
It seems to me that if we are all interested in helping advocate
on behalf of the health of our young people, we should be urging
that they have this pill available, and of course that they use
appropriate contraception and donít take risks. But at least they
know what their options are, should a mistake occur. We should
also be strongly urging adoption as an option for those who do
As to whether the presence of emergency contraception would
increase promiscuity, there is simply no evidence of this. The
American Medical Womenís Association likens it to keeping a
fire extinguisher in your kitchen. Does the presence of a fire
extinguisher mean youíre going to torch your food? No, of
course youíre not planning to have a fire, but if you do, youíre
grateful that the extinguisher is there.
Furthermore, there is no evidence that educating young people
about contraception methods increases their promiscuity.
Rather, helping them understand themselves as sexual beings,
teaching them to achieve interpersonal health, and helping them
to negotiate what they want from a relationship has a much
higher impact on the healthy choices they will make for the rest
of their lives.
--Dr. Drew Pinsky
© 2001 drDrew.com, Inc. All rights reserved.
You can now buy birth control
pills from a number of
online pharmacies. While we recommend you see a doctor before taking
any prescription, especially one that messes with your hormones, there are several
online drugstores that don't require a doctors visit first.
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