Tuesday, August 21, 2007

‘Morning After’ Pill Is Cleared for Wider Sales - New York Times

‘Morning After’ Pill Is Cleared for Wider Sales - New York Times: "The drug, an emergency contraceptive called Plan B that is manufactured by Barr Pharmaceuticals, will be sold only in pharmacies and health clinics. Buyers will have to show proof of age. Anyone under the age of 18 will still need a prescription to buy the pills.

Both sides are wrong, studies suggest. Couples in the United States have so much unprotected sex — half of all pregnancies are unplanned — that even if the pills were very easy for anyone to obtain, they would be unlikely to cause a major change in abortion and disease rates.

“Emergency contraceptives don’t work if, like condoms, they’re left in the drawer,” said Dr. James Trussell, director of the office of population research at Princeton University. “And studies show that even if women have the pills on hand, the drawer is where they remain.”

Plan B is made from a synthetic hormone found in regular oral contraceptives. There are two pills, the first of which should be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex and the second 12 hours later. Like regular contraceptive pills, Plan B generally acts by preventing ovulation or fertilization, according to the F.D.A. Plan B may in rare circumstances prevent a fertilized egg from becoming implanted — something abortion opponents decry. But regular oral contraceptives do that, too.

RU-486, on the other hand, causes a woman to miscarry a well-established pregnancy."

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