FDA Approve Ella as an Emergency Contraceptive

On August 13, the FDA approved the use of ella as a controversial form of emergency contraceptive.  The FDA stated that ella can prevent pregnancy as many as five days after sex.  Studies have shown that it can decrease the chance of pregnancy by about two-thirds for at least 120 hours after unprotected sex.  The other emergency contraceptive on the market (Plan B, or the “morning-after pill”) is only effective for about 72 hours.

According to Planned Parenthood’s description of emergency contraceptives, “It prevents pregnancy by stopping ovulation, fertilization, or implantation.  It will not affect an existing pregnancy.  And it will not cause an abortion.”  However, because life begins at fertilization—not implantation—this description is deceptive.  Emergency contraceptives, including ella, can prevent the already existing human embryo from implanting into the uterine wall, thereby forcing the woman to expel her embryonic baby via chemical abortion.

Determining whether fertilization has occurred this early is difficult, so women take ella without certainty of a pregnancy.  Aside from the medical risks and social implications, this uncertainty dictates that the Right to Life movement cannot support the use of ella.