By Gudrun Schultz

  BARCELONA, Spain, May 25, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The College of Physicians of Barcelona is opposing plans to allow the distribution of the abortifacient morning-after pill in pharmacies without a prescription.

  Saying greater access to the pill will lead to more surgical abortions and more risks for the health of women, the College is opposing an effort by the Catalan Department of Health to make the pill available for over-the-counter sales, according to a report published by Spanish news service Noticias Globales.

  While the College does not have a strong record of support for pro-life issues, as the report points out, it nonetheless is concerned about the health effects of such a move. The doctors point out that increased distribution of the pill has not resulted in a reduction in unplanned pregnancies or surgical abortions. In fact, statistics have shown a marked increase in abortion rates that parallels a greater distribution of emergency contraception.

  In 2005, with more than 500,000 morning-after pills distributed, the number of surgical abortions was 91,000. The number of abortions in 2000, before the pill was made available, was 60,000.

  Spain introduced the morning-after pill in 2001, when it was distributed in pharmacies throughout the country.

  The College expressed concern over increased health risks from inadequate information about the dangers and proper usage of the pill that would result if the pill were made available without prescription.

  Although the pill is not recommended for minor girls younger than age 16, girls as young as 13 would be able to obtain it easily without a prescription.

  Department of Health statistics from Catalonia show that while the highest percentage of users are women between the ages of 18 and 22 years, the second highest group is young girls between the ages of 13 and 17.

  While half the women requesting the pill took it once, 30 percent took it twice and 18 percent took it three or more times, with some requesting the drug up to eight or nine times.

  See related LifeSiteNews coverage:

  Spain’s Abortion Rate Doubles Over 10 Years
  http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/feb/05021110.html

  Spain Continues Cultural Tailspin—Abortion Rates Soar 72%
  http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2006/jan/06010308.html

  SPAIN TO ALLOW ABORTIFACIENT MORNING AFTER PILL
  http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2001/feb/01022005.html