Morning After Pill: Public Controversy

However, it is obvious that sometimes it can be very hard or almost impossible to find a doctor, who would write a prescription, and to find a pharmacy, which sells Plan B, within only 24 hours. That is why in December 2003, the Food and Drug Administration of the USA recommended distributing emergency contraception to the customers over-the-counter (prescription-free). But for rather long time this support remained only in the form of recommendation. Besides, it detonated some serious public polemic.

Critics, who were opposing the decision to make morning-after pills available without a prescription, used to say that no studies had been carried out to show if long-term use of the medicine is safe. They were arguing that easy access to emergency contraception would increase unsafe sex, particularly among the teenagers. Also, they took the idea of the FDA as an objection to moral conscience, a new hidden form of aggression against the weakest and most defenseless creatures, human embryos.

Morning AfterSupporters used to say that there was no evidence that morning-after birth control would lead women into carelessness about regular birth control or sexually transmitted diseases, or cause more sexual activity, in general. They underlined that wider use of the pills could considerably decrease the amount of unintended pregnancies every year and prevent thousands of abortions, which are quite harmful for health.

There were a lot of fears and pessimistic opinions on the problem of availability of emergency contraception for teenagers and adolescents. Also, there were a number of controversial researches conducted in the countries, where PCP could be obtained without a prescription. In particular, Swedish specialists reported about serious increase of unprotected sex and sexually transmitted diseases among the youth in 1999-2004. At the same time, in Britain the amount of incidents of teenage unprotected sex did not increase after launching Plan B.

There were no numerous studies conducted on this point in the US, but the majority of the specialists supposed that making emergency contraception available for everybody, including teenagers and youth, would not bring to increase in risky sexual behavior and would not result in abuse of morning-after pill. Finally, in autumn 2006, the FDA approved non-prescription asses to emergency contraception in our country, therefore, morning-after pill is now available over-the-counter in all licensed pharmacies for women over 18.

plan B This decision did not meet support from American specialists, in particular, from American Academy of Pediatricians, National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association and other institutions. They express the opinion that young people will have sexual relations in anyway, and making assess to PCP limited for teenagers and youth will result in nothing else but increasing the risks of unwanted teenage pregnancies and abortions in our country.

Undoubtedly, emergency contraception has a good potential for lowering the number of unwanted pregnancies. Recently, more and more women visit the pharmacists to buy the pills for emergency contraception. The FDA scientific advisers present morning-after pills as a very secure and important tool to decrease the amount of abortions in our country. But, at the same time, every woman has to be properly informed about the side-effects and restrictions for using Plan B, as well as understand the risks and responsibility she takes.

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