LONDON, January 5, 2011 ( – A poll has shown that as many as one fifth of all young women in the UK have used the morning after pill (MAP) in the past year after “unprotected sex.”

A Co-Operative Pharmacy survey of 3000 people found that 20 percent of women aged 18 to 35 took the “emergency contraceptive” pill last year. The same group said they had typically used the drug, which only acts as a genuine contraceptive in some cases, when they had had sex after using drugs and/or alcohol.

The poll further found that up to 250,000 women had used the drug two or more times during the year. One in fifty 18-21 year-olds said they used the MAP as their normal form of contraception. One sixth of the women surveyed said they had contracted a sexually transmitted disease.

While a National Health Service spokesman warned that the MAP fails to protect women from sexually transmitted diseases, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) has long warned that the medical community is simply not telling women what MAP really is, or what it does.

The morning after pill, a large dose of the same hormones used in contraceptive pills, can either prevent ovulation or prevent the implantation of an existing embryo in the uterine lining.

“Very few women will know precisely when they ovulate,” SPUC said, “so, if they take the morning-after pill, they will not know whether it has prevented conception or caused an abortion.”

The abuse of the MAP in Britain follows decades of government efforts to increase the use of contraceptives for younger and younger women and girls. While many abortion and contraception promoters claim that increased use of contraception will lower the abortion rate, pro-life advocates have pointed out that the decades-long rise in the abortion rates has coincided with the rise in contraceptive availability and use.

John Smeaton, head of SPUC, said in response to the findings that “the provision of contraception not only fails to prevent unplanned pregnancies but results in unborn children being victimised to death as the unwelcome consequences of so-called contraceptive failure.”