Tuesday January 12, 2010

Austria Approves Over-the-Counter Morning-After Pill

By Patrick B. Craine

VIENNA, Austria, January 12, 2010 ( – Austrian women of all ages can now obtain the abortifacient ‘morning-after’ pill without a prescription, reports the Associated Press. The change, announced before Christmas by the country’s health ministry, went into effect on December 18th.

The drug is meant to be taken up to 72 hours after sexual intercourse in order to prevent or end pregnancy. It can either inhibit or delay ovulation. If the woman has already ovulated and become pregnant, however, it will kill the newly conceived baby by preventing him or her from attaching to the lining of the uterus.

The pill has also been linked to numerous dangerous side effects, such as infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and blood clot formation. While it is not intended for frequent or continuous use, the drug is often abused when easily available, as even “reproductive choice” proponents have admitted.

According to AFP, Health Minister Alois Stoeger, of the Social Democrats, made the measure one of his priorities when he took the position. He succeeded Maria Rauch-Kallat, a Christian Democrat, who had not allowed it.

In allowing over-the-counter access to the pill Austria joins Spain, which made a similar change in September, as well as numerous other European countries.

See related coverage:

Morning-After Pill Proving To Be Ineffective and Abused

Canadian Physicians Group Warns of Dangers of “Morning After Pill”

Spanish Government Mandates Over the Counter Sale of Abortifacient “Emergency Contraception” with No Age Limitation