Emergency Contraception

Emergency contraception, a.k.a. “the morning-after pill,” can take two forms: either a high-dose of oral contraceptives or an intrauterine device (IUD).  Oral contraceptives are used most often.

Emergency contraception (EC) is offered to women within 5 to 7 days after unprotected sex.  If taken within the first 72 hours after intercourse, EC is only about 75% effective.  Planned Parenthood explains, “It prevents pregnancy by stopping ovulation, fertilization, or implantation.  It will not affect an existing pregnancy.  And it will not cause an abortion.” Because life begins at fertilization – not implantation – this description is deceptive.  EC can prevent the already existing human from implanting into the uterine wall, thereby forcing the woman to expel her embryonic baby via chemical abortion. 

Determining whether fertilization has occurred is difficult and therefore women take EC without certainty of a pregnancy.  Aside from the medical risks and ethical implications, this uncertainty dictates that the Right to Life movement cannot support the use of EC.  An analogy would be that a highway road crew cannot morally dynamite a hill to make way for a new interstate without making absolutely certain that no innocent humans are in that danger zone. 

In addition to EC causing a chemical abortion, this powerful drug endangers women and girls.  Recent medical studies have proven that intensified doses of hormones (such as those used in Hormone Replacement Therapy) are harmful to women.  Scientists found that these high doses of artificial hormones, mainly progestin (the hormone used in “emergency contraception”), lead to greater risk for breast cancer, stroke, and heart attack.  Planned Parenthood acknowledges only a few of the negative effects on its website: most women will experience nausea and sometimes vomiting, which should pass after about 24 hours.  Planned Parenthood masks the dangers of taking drugs without the counsel of a doctor. 

Abortion advocates are aggressively lobbying the FDA for “the morning-after pill” to be sold over the counter.  Doctors usually train for about a decade to learn the effects of drugs on their patients.  Removing the safety net of a doctor's familiarity with his patient and his guidance on medication, by allowing women to self-administer this powerful drug, puts women at risk.  In no other medical situation could a patient autonomously determine that a drug as powerful as EC is an appropriate course of action and then procure the drug for herself without a prescription.  These risks are enhanced for minor girls.  Granting EC over the counter status eviscerates existing Parental Consent laws, and thwarts the will of the people in those states where Parental Involvement laws have been enacted.  Furthermore, parental involvement in the health decisions of minor daughters protects young girls from sexual predators.  (The teenage girl's sexual partner is an average of 6 years older than she is.) Parents certainly must be informed if a much older man is taking advantage of their young daughter. 

EC is available over the counter in CA, WA, and AL.  Some states (MN, NH, OR, and VA) also allow EC to be offered behind the counter, or available by request from a pharmacist without a prescription.  EC can cause a chemical abortion and the basic health standards and requirements for its use (i.e., doctor supervision, warning labels, patient information, contraindications, etc.) should not be ignored or lowered to a level that further endangers women.