World Population Awareness

Emergency Contraception (EC)

December 10, 2014

Emergency contraception (EC) is opposed by anti-abortionists because they are convinced it is an abortifacient.

However, it has yet to be shown that EC causes a change in the uterus to prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterine wall. EC works by impeding sperm and delaying or blocking ovulation.

Breast feeding suppresses ovarian function which results in the thinning of the uterus, which would prevent implantation if there were an egg to fertilize.

No one objects to breast feeding, so why object to either artificially blocking ovulation or preventing implantation?   October 2010 doclink

Emergency Contraception News

Every sperm is sacred - cartoon - www.mikhaela.net
People who are anti-contraception must believe that "every sperm is sacred". ... by www.mikhaela.net - click to enlarge
doclink

Emergency Contraception - Behind the Confusion and How it is Available in the Bathroom of 27% of All Women Using Contraception

April 25, 2003, Patrick Burns

The Yutzpe Method

General instructions: Take one dose every 12 hours for 24 hours, discard the last 7 pills in a 28-pill pack as they do not contain any hormones. If you are using Triphasil, Tri-Levlen, or Trivora, use only the correct color of pills that are noted below. Source: Trussell J, Koenig J, Ellertson C, Stewart F. Preventing unintended pregnancy: the cost-effectiveness of three methods of emergency contraception. American Journal of Public Health 1997;87(6):932-937. Please note that the FDA has explicitly declared that the brands of birth control pills listed above are safe and effective for use as emergency contraceptives. These protocols work!
Confusion among pharmacists and the lay public is widespread, and those in the family planning movement are at least partly to blame. Some incredibility is due to the fact that: in the early 1980s and 1990s, RU-486 (now called the abortion pill) was refered to as 'emergency contraception' and not abortion, leading to confusion as to what we now call 'Emergency Contraception' really is, which is OTC abortion. At the very same time that this was going on, there was little effort to educate women about the use of regular birth control pills as emergency contraception. RU-486 is new to the U.S., but taking massive doses of birth control pills is NOT new. The Yutzpe method (developed 20-25 years ago by Dr. Al Yutzpe), when using the most commonly available birth control pills in the U.S., are that two doses should be taken, 12 hours apart, and within 72 hours of having sex. Like the Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, most women already have access to emergency contraception. Just as the shoes on her feet got Dorothy home, so too can the birth control pills already in her cabinet (or in her friend's cabinet) get her out of the trouble she is in if a condom breaks or she has a serious lapse of judgment. For more information, see: http://ec.princeton.edu/questions/ecpuse.html doclink

Karen Gaia says: this is an old article, and the details may be outdated, but the principle remains the same.

June 26, 2002,

  • During the Senate debate on the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (S. 1), Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) is planning to offer an amendment that would restrict teens' access to emergency contraception (EC). EC, often confused with medical abortion, is a high dose of birth control pills that can be used to prevent unintended pregnancy within 72 hours of unprotected sex or contraceptive failure. It makes abortion unnecessary by preventing pregnancy in the first place. doclink

  • June 26, 2002,

  • Planned Parenthood says: *Instead of "spreading awareness of emergency contraception," Bush has "done nothing to improve access to EC, even though it could prevent half of all unintended pregnancies." doclink

  • June 26, 2002,

  • The California Senate Health and Human Services Committee has approved a bill that would allow women to obtain emergency contraception over the counter, the Los Angeles Times reports. Introduced by state Sen. Dede Alpert (D), the measure would allow any woman to obtain EC without a prior doctor's visit (Gellene, Los Angeles Times, 5/24). Last month, eight California counties launched a pilot program that allows women to receive EC doclink

  • Teen Voices Provides Information on Emergency Contraception

    June 01, 2001, Teen Voices release

    The current issue of Teen Voices, "an interactive, educational forum
    that challenges media images of women," features a comprehensive
    article on emergency contraception, including where and how to
    obtain it. Teen Voices states that "s do not cause abortions.
    They usually prevent your body from ovulating ... so the egg cannot
    be fertilized by the sperm, or alter the lining of the uterus to make it
    impossible for a fertilized egg to attach itself to the wall. ... There are
    no long-term side effects; you do not need to have an exam to
    receive ; you do not have to be a certain age to receive "
    (Teen Voices, 6/01). Teen Voices editor and founder Alison
    Amoroso said, "Teen Voices is one of the few magazines that dares
    to inform teenagers that they don't have to get pregnant from
    unprotected sex, rape or incest" doclink

    Pregnancy Prevention, the Morning After

    April 10, 2001, New York Times*

    In the U.S., 3 million unintended pregnancies occur each year in this
    country, followed by about a million medical abortions, but if the
    women knew about and used emergency contraception, at least half
    of these could be prevented. Only 2% of U.S. women have ever
    used it and only about 11% know of its existence, even though the
    method - taking multiple doses of oral contraceptives within a few
    days of unprotected intercourse - has been known for more than a
    quarter century. The producers of 'morning after' products have no
    advertising budgets to make the products widely known, and less
    than 20% of gynecologists provide advance prescriptions for their
    patients. A doctor's prescription is required, but most experts
    consider this unnecessary since they are very safe. Not having the
    product available over the counter is a problem if exposure occurs
    on a Friday night and the woman cannot get to a doctor until
    Monday. At $30, Preven contains the estrogen ethinyl estradiol and
    a synthetic progesterone (progestin) called levonorgestrel, the same
    hormones that are in oral contraceptives at higher doses, and is 57%
    effective, and may involve nausea and vomiting. At only $20, Plan B
    contains only levonorgestrel, is more effective (85% effective) than
    Preven and, because it lacks estrogen, has fewer unpleasant side
    effects. Both products involve taking two pills within 72 hours after
    unprotected intercourse, followed 12 hours later by another two
    pills. The products can be obtained directly from a pharmacist only
    in British Columbia, England, France, Portugal, and the U.S. state of
    Washington. A copper IUD inserted within five days of unprotected
    intercourse can also be used as emergency contraception, and has
    the advantage of preventing virtually 100% of pregnancies, and if it is
    not removed, it can prevent pregnancy for up to 10 years. Half of all
    women have had at least one unintended pregnancy, the most
    common reason is failure to anticipate sexual activity and, thus,
    failure to use contraception. Many women think that "if you plan
    ahead, it's not right; you should be swept away," as Dr. Vivien
    Hanson, a family planning specialist in Seattle, put it. Also there is
    condom failure, the misplaced diaphragm, and a missed pill when
    taking oral contraceptives. The products do not cause abortions -
    they suppress ovulation and cause changes in the cervical mucus that
    can make it impenetrable by sperm. If an egg is fertilized, emergency
    contraception may interfere with its transport down the fallopian
    tube, causing it to die before it can become implanted in the uterus. If
    a fertilized egg is implanted in the uterus - the definition of pregnancy
    - using emergency contraception will not dislodge or destroy it and
    there is no risk to a developing fetus if the woman should happen to
    be already pregnant. doclink

    Teens Opt for Abortion Over Emergency Pill

    June 26, 2006, Jamaica Observer

    Despite the introduction of the Emergency Contraceptive Pill (ECP) in Jamaica three years ago, demand for the drug is low, as some women prefer abortions.

    A study suggested that abortions among adolescents range from a conservative 1,350 to a possible maximum of 4,912 per year. Young women 15 to 19 have a relatively high incidence of abortions compared to older teens and adults.

    Although the ECP was readily available, adolescents refused to take the drug. They opted to undergo induced abortions, which is illegal in Jamaica. They still see ECP as an 'abortion agent' and stigmatises those who use it. The current use of the ECP is under 20%. The statistics indicated the need for the drug especially among adolescents 15 to 19 years old who are most likely to be involved in casual sex or unwanted pregnancies.

    Some adolescents who feared going to medical facilities, opted for risky, self-induced abortions using methods such as Pepsi and Excedrin, coat hangers and jumping from high places.

    ECP is available at no cost at health centres. doclink

    Concerns

    Plan B OK'd Over Counter for 15 and Older

    May 01, 2013, Boston Globe   By: Deborah Kotz

    The Food and Drug Administration said that it would allow Plan B One-Step emergency contraception to be offered on drugstore shelves next to other family planning products such as condoms and pregnancy tests. -- but only to those age 15 and over.

    Consumers will be required to show proof of age at the register. Many of those under age 17 may not have a photo ID if they do not yet have a driver's license.

    Emergency contraception contains high doses of the female hormone progestin and needs to be taken within three days of unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy; it's currently available without a prescription to those age 17 and over but is kept behind a pharmacy counter and dispensed only when the pharmacy is open.

    The FDA said that women age 15 and older "understood that the product was not for routine use and would not protect them against sexually transmitted diseases" and could be used safely without a doctor's supervision. doclink

    Karen Gaia says: the latest news is that President Obama is planning to appeal this decision.

    U.S.: The Truth of Emergency Contraception

    February 20 , 2013, Oklahoma Gazette   By: Annie-Rose Strasser

    Under the Affordable Care Act, contraception coverage without cost to women is required as part of basic health care coverage. However, despite overwhelming evidence that the ability to plan and space pregnancies critically impacts a woman's health and the health of her children, many employers are suing the federal government, claiming that the requirement to cover contraception violates their personal religious beliefs, one of which is that emergency contraception, the "morning-after pill," is the same as abortion.

    Abortion foes believe what isn't true when they equate contraception and emergency contraception with abortion. They don't believe what is true when they fail to see that the best way to prevent abortion is to provide reliable birth control.

    After unprotected intercourse, sperm can live in the woman's reproductive system for up to five days, waiting for the egg to be released. But the morning-after pill works by preventing the release of the egg, thereby preventing fertilization and pregnancy. It decreases the likelihood of pregnancy by about 80%.

    The product descriptions for the two available medications state that blocking implantation of an embryo is a possible mechanism for these medications, but newer studies dispute this. Neither medication interrupts an established pregnancy, so the idea that emergency contraception equates to abortion is false.

    Rape victims and women who have a contraceptive failure have a vital need for access to emergency contraception.

    The medical practice has always helped people recover from the consequences of their lifestyle choices. We provide emergency care to people injured from risky behavior and cardiac care to patients who develop heart disease from their diet and exercise habits, and we treat lung cancer patients who smoke.

    50% of U.S. pregnancies are unplanned, and 25% end in abortion. Data from the U.S. and other countries shows us that making abortion illegal does not prevent its occurrence.

    A study of no-cost contraception provided to women in the St. Louis area showed that, without cost as a determining factor, more women chose the very effective long-acting methods of contraception, and had 75% fewer abortions than other women in the same region. The teen pregnancy rate in study participants was 6 per 1,000 teens compared to 34 per 1,000 for the region.

    We must expand access to the only proven method of abortion prevention: effective contraception. doclink

    Emergency Contraception: Have We Come Full Circle?

    August 21, 2009, RH Reality Check

    Two decades ago, Dr. Felicia Stewart began her campaign to let out of the closet "America's best-kept secret" - emergency contraception twenty years ago.

    Many providers thought the method was "not effective enough," or would lead women to use it "too much" - in place of using other more effective methods.

    Dr. Stewart and other women's health advocates pushed to make emergency contraception more public and more available because they saw the need for a method that could be used after sex and one that was safe enough to provide without the barrier of a medical interface. They believed that women could learn to use the method appropriately, and that women had the right to this important option.

    After twenty years there are many dedicated emergency contraception products now available worldwide, women's awareness and use of EC has been increased, and, in the U.S., the direct to consumer marketing of EC by a pharmaceutical company. Also the method is popular.

    Recently it has been shown that emergency contraception is not as effective in reducing unwanted pregnancy rates at a level for which we once hoped, which has slowed funding, and women are using it repeatedly instead of switching to other more effective methods. Also, by providing it directly to women we are missing opportunities to provide women with a full range of reproductive health services.

    However, it should be remembered that emergency contraception fills a unique and important role in the mix of available contraceptive methods; it is effective enough to be promoted as a contraceptive option; and women's use of the method contributes in a positive way to every woman's significant challenge of how to avoid unplanned pregnancies over her lengthy fertile years.

    Emergency contraception is the only method a woman can easily use post-coitally, important not only for women who have had no control over their exposure to sex, as in the case of sexual violence, but also for couples who find themselves in need of contraception after sex. Also the method is convenient compared to other methods because it can be used without having to see a doctor or health care provider.

    Women are willing to pay more for emergency contraceptive pills than for a month of oral contraceptive pills. This should tell us something about what women want.

    While EC did not produce the hoped-for level of pregnancy prevention, the fact is that women with enhanced access to emergency contraception do not always use it when they need it - individual women have a right to use the contraceptive method that best suits them, not the one that best contributes to overall demographic indicators.

    Estimates of the effectiveness of emergency contraceptive pills range from 59% to 94%, but it is more effective than doing nothing. While it was found that the typical effectiveness of condoms and pills was much lower than their theoretical effectiveness, we did not push women to stop using them in favor of more effective IUDs or towards sterilization because it has the highest level of real effectiveness.

    Providing access to a wide variety of contraceptive methods is an effective approach to helping a diverse range of women meet their reproductive needs and desires.

    Women (and men), when considering contraception methods, prioritize effectiveness, but also may consider other factors, like convenience, privacy, insurance coverage, avoiding hormones, and the reputation - accurate or not - of the method. These factors change over the course of a woman's life, explaining why the average woman uses between three and four different contraceptive methods during her lifetime. doclink

    U.K.: Morning-After Pill the Choice for 50% of Young Women

    May 2, 2009, Daily Mail

    The morning-after pill is the contraceptive of choice. A survey of 500 students found nearly half used the pill. 7 in 10 of those who took it did so because they hadn't used any other form of precaution.

    The drug was advertised last month and is on sale online as well as pharmacies.

    Critics claim easy availability of emergency contraception will encourage women to have unprotected sex.

    The latest study was carried out among students in their late teens and early 20s in SW London.

    A fifth said they had had more than one sexual partner in a week and one in ten claimed to have slept with at least two women in one day.

    A third said they did not regularly use condoms, leaving them at risk of sexually transmitted infections.

    When the morning-after pill was first approved for use in the UK, assurances were given that it would be used only in exceptional circumstances and under the control of doctors.

    The morning-after pill is lulling young women into a false sense of security, exposing them to increased risk of sexually transmitted infections. Sex education isn't getting through to people.

    The morning-after pill was designed for occasional use only. It is important it doesn't replace regular contraception methods. doclink

    Chile's Policy of Free Emergency Contraception Under Threat

    February 12, 2008, Ms. Magazine

    Conservative officials in Chile are threatening the emergency contraception (EC) policies with a lawsuit that would ban EC. Under the President Michelle Bachelet's administration, all forms of birth control have been free for women over 14 at public clinics since 2006.

    Conservatives argue that the policy violates the Chilean ban on abortion based on the misconception that EC is a form of abortion. Despite the Catholic influence on Chile, 49% of Chileans believe that women should have the right to access EC.

    President Bachelet's administration is battling pharmaceutical companies to force them to keep emergency contraception in stock. President Bachelet has enforced legislation to ensure birth control's availability. doclink

    Morning-after Pill Not Linked to Drop in Unplanned Pregnancy

    April 18, 2007, Press Association (UK)

    Women who receive an advance supply of the "morning after pill" have an equal chance of becoming pregnant as women who do not. This is based on studies of more than 6,000 women in the US, India and China.

    EC use was higher among women given an advance supply of the birth control pills, but that did not translate to a drop in pregnancy.

    We don't know if women were using EC at the times when they were at risk for pregnancy. Marie Stopes International disputed the findings. If someone has an accident and is prepared, the quicker they take emergency contraception, the more effective it is.

    The British Pregnancy Advisory Service urges women to keep the pill ready at home in case they risk pregnancy.

    The findings should not prevent easier access to emergency contraception. Women deserve the chance to protect themselves from unintended pregnancy. The presence of EC does not lead to an increase in promiscuity. There was no difference in sexually transmitted infection rates between the two groups, unprotected sex, condom use or changes in use of other contraception.

    Advance provision of EC has no harmful effects in terms of risky sexual behaviours. doclink

    Chile;: President Stands Her Ground on Emergency Contraception

    April 17, 2007, Latin America Press

    When Chilean President Michelle Bachelet announced that the country would provide emergency contraception to "everyone who requires it" she was aware of the storm that would ensue.

    Six years ago, as health minister, Bachelet proposed giving sex abuse victims access to the emergency contraceptive pill, at drugstores by doctor's prescription.

    A flurry of lawsuits, counter suits, injunctions, and constitutional challenges have pitted pro-life forces led by the Catholic Church against Bachelet's government, backed by women's rights organizations and health professionals.

    Before the Supreme Court overturned a lower court ruling and banned the sale of Postinal, considering it abortifacent, the governmental drug licensing agency had already approved a second product, Postinor-2.

    Even though Postinor-2 has the same components as Postinal, the Santiago Court of Appeals ruled that the plaintiffs could not represent unborn babies and that scientific or ethical determinations about when life begins are out of the court's realm of competency.

    Bachelet signed into law the Regulations on Fertility that permit women over 14 to obtain Postinor-2 without parental consent.

    Chilean law enacted in recent years lowered the statutory age at which minors may be tried as adults and the age of informed sexual consent to 14 years of age from 16.

    Mayors of the Independent Democratic Union party, influenced by traditional Catholic doctrine, vowed to block the distribution of emergency contraception in public clinics in their municipalities, while congressional advocates have filed protective orders against these mayors. A final ruling from the Constitutional Tribunal is expected later this year.

    Midwives or doctors at public health clinics administer Postinor-2, prefaced by counseling on birth control methods.

    Family planning programs in Chile began in the mid-1960s, when an average 550 women died annually due to complications related to childbirth. During the same period, and with therapeutic abortion still legal in Chile, an estimated 300 women died each year as a consequence of illegal abortions.

    Then-President Eduardo Frei Montalva a devout Catholic, put aside his personal beliefs to initiate free distribution of birth control methods to save women's lives. The 1973-1990 dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet maintained this family planning practice, but a lack of consensus within the Junta on penalties delayed the banning of therapeutic abortion until Bishop Jorge Medina interceded to urge the regime to enact the prohibition in September 1989, six months before the inauguration of the first democratically elected government in 17 years. doclink

    Plan B Compromise Might Be Closer: Church is Studying Draft Contraception Bill Proposed by Lawmakers

    March 31, 2007, Hartford Courant (US)

    Women's advocates and the Catholic Church are trying to agree on a compromise that would allow rape victims treated at Catholic hospitals to get emergency birth control pills in a way that does not violate the church's abortion ban.

    Under the proposal by legislators who favor universal access to Plan B emergency contraception, Catholic hospitals could contract with an independent health care provider to perform rape examinations and offer the pills.

    The private provider would be paid by the state.

    If an ethicist determines that the proposal does not violate Catholic doctrines, a law requiring all Connecticut hospitals to provide emergency contraception to rape victims could be voted on soon.

    The 2-year-old debate has become a public relations nightmare for a church battered by priest sexual abuse scandals.

    Archbishop Mansell ssaid "We are not opposed to emergency contraception for women who are victims of rape, we are opposed to abortion.

    Church leaders brought a proposal that was immediately rejected. It would have allowed a rape victim who was denied emergency contraception to call an independent counselor or sexual assault nurse. That independent care provider could bring the pills to the hospital, but would have to give them to the victim off the hospital grounds.

    A group of lawmakers suggested that Catholic hospitals be allowed to contract with an independent rape examiner who would be called as soon as a rape victim arrived and would perform the examination and offer emergency contraception.

    A rape victim at any hospital would be offered emergency contraception after a negative pregnancy test. Catholic hospitals offer Plan B only after an ovulation test shows there is no possibility of future pregnancy.

    A similar bill died in the final days of the legislative session amid strong pressure from the Catholic Church. This year votes appear to be in favor of Plan B supporters. In several other states, including New York and New Jersey, Catholic hospitals have agreed to administer Plan B to sexual assault victims as long as they are not pregnant.

    Advocates have said that forcing a rape victim to find a pharmacy and pay for the pills adds to the trauma of rape. Connecticut Catholic leaders counter that forcing them to offer the pill in their hospitals violates their religious freedom because Plan B can interfere with implantation of an embryo in the uterus, which in Catholic eyes, amounts to abortion. doclink

    Legislation, Policies

    Poor Teens Lack Access to Emergency Contraception

    January 24, 2012, ABCNews.com

    Low-income communities have the highest teen pregnancy rates in the U.S., yet researchers from Boston Medical Center found that pharmacists in poorer areas were more often misinformed about the law and mistakenly were denying 17-year-old girls access to Plan-B. The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

    Plan B, or levonorgestrel, prevents a fertilized egg from attaching to the wall of the uterus, if taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex. The drug, unlike RU-486, cannot be used to terminate a pregnancy.

    In 2006, Plan B became available for purchase by adults in the U.S. without a prescription. In 2009, the age at which Plan B could be dispensed without a prescription was lowered to age 17.

    "There is a lot of misinformation about emergency contraception," said senior auther Dr. Tracey Wilkinson, a pediatrician at Boston Medical Center. Box labels on the contraception -- as well as the advertising -- may not be clear, and may be contributing to the problem.

    In the study, graduate assistants posed as 17-year-old adolescents and called over 900 pharmacies throughout the U.S. to see if pharmacists would dispense the morning-after pill to teens. 19% of all pharmacists and 23.7% of pharmacists in low-income neighborhoods, said they could not obtain the pill under any circumstance.

    Given the controversy surrounding the drug, and the changes in the rules and guidelines surrounding access, it's "not really surprising that it permeates everywhere," Wilkinson said.

    Whatever the reason for the misinformation, whether it's a problem with staff education in the pharmacies, high turnover, the relative rarity of teens asking for the drug, she said, "at the end of the day, it puts adolescents in poor neighborhoods at a disadvantage," she said.

    Another problem is that a 17-year-old may be asked to prove she is 17 and she may not have a license since she isn't driving.

    Susan Wood, director of the Jacobs Institute of Women's Health said emergency contraceptives should be compared to and accessible as condoms, tampons and pregnancy tests.

    Even though the maker of Plan B received approval from the FDA to sell Plan B over the counter, which would make it available to all consumers regardless of age andsafety studies that show that women of all ages can take the drug safely and effectively, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defied the FDA and prevented the drug from becoming available for sale over the counter in December. doclink

    Ensure Access to Birth Control--tell Congress to Pass the Abc Act

    September 27, 2010

    Recently the FDA approved a new, more effective emergency contraceptive called Ensure. Quick to react, the Family Research Council started a new campaign to "encourage" pharmacists to refuse to dispense the new drug. Not surprising since they are doing the same thing with all birth control. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-14th/NY) and Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) have introduced the Access to Birth Control Act (ABC Act--H.R. 5309/S. 3357) in the U.S. House and Senate.

    This Act simply requires pharmacists to fill valid prescriptions for contraception and to dispense over-the-counter emergency contraception when asked, or to provide a referral to another store. Pharmacists do not have a right to interfere with a woman's private medical decisions, or to substitute their moral judgment for hers.

    Click on the headline above to send a message to your Members of Congress: co-sponsor and support the passage of the Access to Birth Control Act. doclink

    U.S.: FDA to Allow 'Morning-After' Pill for 17-year-olds

    April 23, 2009, Yahoo News

    Last March, a United States District Court made emergency contraception (EC) for 17-year-olds available over the counter, as it is for adult women.

    Russell Turk, M.D., an OB/GYN in Connecticut, made the argument to make it available to girls as young as 13. The EC pill is safer than the alternative. "Widespread availability of the morning-after pill has the potential to prevent unplanned pregnancy and abortion - both of which pose far greater risk and hardship to teen girls."

    The longer a woman waits to get the pill, the less effective it will be. Therefore the more hurdles we put between EC pills and the young women that need them, the more likely it is for a young teen girl to be faced with the choice of abortion or risky pregnancy.

    It is ironical that once a girl is pregnant, she's legally considered an ‘emancipated minor' - which means she can make medical decisions of a much more serious nature without adult supervision. And yet we can't trust her to make a decision that will keep her from getting pregnant? doclink

    U.S.: Take Realistic Approach Toward Contraception

    March 26, 2009, Des Moines Register

    America's teenage birth rate is among the highest in the developed world. So it is good news that a federal judge's order that the FDA make the Plan B morning-after birth-control pill available without a prescription to women as young as 17.

    The FDA must review whether to make the emergency contraceptive available without a prescription for women of all ages.

    Critics claim making Plan B available will promote promiscuity. Yet many teenagers have sex before they are mature enough to make such a decision. What's needed is to better educate them about how this can affect their lives so they wait until they are older.

    The Centers for Disease Control says it's not that U.S. teens have more sex than teens in other countries; it's that they are less likely to use contraception. In 2002, French officials allowed minors to obtain emergency contraceptives - with counseling - from a pharmacy at no cost, and without a parent's permission. doclink

    U.K.;: Women to Be Able to Get Pill on Demand at Local Pharmacy

    December 13, 2007, Guardian (London)

    Women will be able to get the contraceptive pill from their chemist under new plans revealed by the government.

    They will be able to walk into the chemist's and obtain the pill after a discreet conversation with the pharmacist.

    It had not yet been decided whether girls under 16 would be able to get the pill without their parents being informed. The morning-after pill is already available to women including under-age girls from a pharmacist, if he or she is satisfied that they are competent to make the decision to take it and are in good health.

    Any woman getting the pill would involve a questionnaire about her health and other medication she might be taking. It could also mean that the pharmacist would take her blood pressure.

    Pharmacists will be given extra training. The move towards pharmacy availability is intended to make life easier for women. Pharmacies could play an increased role in the provision of contraception and other sexual health services because of their accessibility and convenient opening hours.

    For the change to come about, strategic health authorities must issue instructions called patient group directions, permitting pharmacists to prescribe specific medicines to specific groups of people.

    Not only the morning-after pill but also cholesterol-lowering statins are available from pharmacists, who carry out checks to ensure the drugs are suitable for those who request them. The Department of Health wants to increase the range of medicines available this way. doclink

    US Wisconsin;: Rape Victims Advocate Requiring Morning-after Pill at Hospitals

    April 26, 2007, Associated Press

    Rape victims testified in support of a bill that would require Wisconsin hospitals to provide Plan B. Opponents likened taking the pill to having an abortion but supporters argued that it only stops a pregnancy from occurring.

    The bill is needed because a majority of hospitals do not offer the pill to rape victims.

    About a third of the state's hospitals are affiliated with the Catholic Church and those hospitals give rape victims emergency contraception if a test shows no pregnancy has already occurred. The Catholic Conference will not oppose the bill as long as it allows hospitals not to administer the pill to women who tests show they are pregnant, but the bill does not define when pregnancy begins.

    Any action that destroys a fertilized egg is akin to an abortion, said Pro-Life Wisconsin. And because it is difficult to determine whether fertilization has occurred when the drug is given, the potential for causing an abortion exists.

    The committee took no action on the proposal, which has been pushed unsuccessfully three times in recent years.

    California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, South Carolina and Washington have laws requiring hospitals to either dispense the drug or information about how to get it. doclink

    US Oregon;: After 14 Years, Time Could Be Now for Contraception Bill

    February 25, 2007, Associated Press

    Bills that would require private insurers to cover the costs of prescription birth control have been around the Oregan Capitol since 1993, only to die quietly.

    But 14 years on, it looks like the proposal has some real traction. Twenty-six other states have moved to establish such coverage.

    Oregon opponents have included the influential Catholic lobby, and private health insurers, who tend to bristle at any talk of government mandates.

    Supporters were encouraged that both parties signed off on a bill mandating that insurers fully cover mental health treatments, suggesting that they're open to some government-imposed requirements on private insurers.

    It is much cheaper to cover the cost of the prescription birth control than the cost of labor and delivery for an unplanned pregnancy. Nationally, figures from a reproductive rights organization show that about 50% of traditional fee-for-service health plans offer no coverage for contraceptives.

    HMOs offer more complete coverage, while newer types of managed care plans offer a bit less coverage.

    Offering coverage of the most-used contraceptive methods would cost an average of $1.43 per month per employee. The bill requires that Oregon hospitals must inform victims of sexual assault about emergency contraception, and dispense the pill if women ask for it. In 2003, Oregon lawmakers established a fund, fed by private donations, to pay for emergency contraception for sexual assault victims but not every hospital is making use of the funding.

    The Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems are evaluating the mandate to offer emergency contraception.

    Most of the state's largest hospitals have been regularly reimbursed from the fund for emergency contraceptive costs for sexual assault victims. Smaller hospitals have not sought reimbursements over the last two years. Missing from the proposed legislation is any clause that would allow hospitals or doctors to opt out of providing emergency contraception. Although 18 states allow employers and insurers to refuse to cover birth control, the Oregon proposal contains no such language.

    There's no Oregon law requiring pharmacists who have moral or ethical obligations to the morning-after pill to dispense it. But it does require pharmacies to ensure that patients can get their pills. doclink

    Dann to Continue Abortion Pill Fight

    February 21, 2007, Cincinnati Enquirer

    Ohio Attorney General Dann will defend a state law restricting the use of the pill that induces abortion. He believes a federal judge was wrong to declare the law vague and unconstitutional.

    Dann said he may disagree with the law, but will pursue the appeal based on his belief it is not vague and therefore is constitutional.

    The announcement means the legal fight over the law will continue. Gov Strickland filed a brief with the 6th Circuit last week stating he did not want to overturn the lower court's finding that the law was unconstitutional doclink

    Emergency Contraception Links

    EC Over-the-Counter Locations in California - Website

    Over the counter emergency contraception is legal in Alaska, Washington, California, and Quebec. For locations of participating pharmacies in California, check this link.

    doclink
    Emergency Contraception FAQ - printer friendly page Sent: 13 Jun 2003 EC - FAQ - printer friendly page 7 Jun 2003 http://www.ecp-help.org/FAQsPrintFriendly.htm kgp... doclink
    EC and Birth Control Resources Sent: 13 Jun 2003 EC and birth control resources 7 Jun 2003 http://www.ecp-help.org/Resources.htm kgp... doclink