Morning-After Pill Proving To Be Ineffective and Abused

By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

August 27, 2009 ( - In what appears to be a startlingly candid admission of failure, an article in the Reproductive Health Reality Check blog by Elizabeth Westley, Francine Coeytaux and Elisa Wells that originally appeared in the journal Contraception, states that emergency contraception (EC), commonly called the morning-after pill, "is not as effective in reducing unwanted pregnancy rates at a population level as we once hoped."

"While the exact effectiveness of emergency contraceptive pills is difficult to determine (estimates range from 59 percent to 94 percent), we know that using emergency contraception is more effective than doing nothing. … When we realized that the typical effectiveness of condoms and pills was much lower than their theoretical effectiveness, did we tell women to stop using them in favor of more effective IUDs? ..." the writers confess.

The trio of contraceptive-pushing journalists are lamenting the possibility that funding may dry up for the promotion of the dangerous contraception method.

"Recent analyses suggesting that emergency contraception is not as effective ... ," the authors observed, "seem to have put the brakes on funding and have revived the original arguments that emergency contraception is "not effective enough" to be promoted as an option and that women are "abusing" it, using it repeatedly instead of using other more effective methods."

The danger to women who repeatedly use the EC drug without consulting a doctor is briefly mentioned, but rationalized by the convenience of a post-coital contraception method the authors say most women need.

"Some of the researchers who are concerned about the "low-efficacy" of oral emergency contraceptives are now trying to promote emergency IUD insertion as an alternative post-coital method. But the logistics and cost of obtaining it make it an unrealistic option for most women.  And it ignores what many women tell us is the biggest appeal of emergency contraceptive pills - the convenience of being able to directly access the method without having to see a doctor or health care provider."

The authors also admit that the promised effectiveness of EC was greatly exaggerated in a bid to gain lucrative financial support for the method in anticipation of huge profits for pharmaceutical companies.

"Our expectations for EC's effectiveness were biased upwards by an early estimate that expanding access to emergency contraception could dramatically reduce the incidence of unintended pregnancy and subsequent abortion. This estimate made a compelling story and is likely a key reason why donors and others were willing to support efforts to expand access to EC. Now that we realize that this was an overly optimistic calculation…"

A final plea to financial backers not give up on EC, and a statement that women are being given all the information they need to make an informed choice about using this contraceptive method concludes the article.

The serious health risks to women who use this drug, either occasionally, or excessively, which the article describes as "abuse", has been thoroughly studied and documented, yet the easy availability of the drug without medical supervision raises the serious issue of whether women are in fact being given the information they need, or are just being used for profit.

Read LSN reports on the health dangers of the morning-after pill:

Canadian Physicians Group Warns of Dangers of "Morning After Pill"


CMA Doctors: FDA Move to Allow 'Plan B' Without a Prescription is Unsafe and Unwise

FDA Approves Plan B Abortifacient for Over-the-Counter

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