Morning After Pill Debate - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Healthwatch - 12/18/03

Morning After Pill Debate

The FDA's final ruling could make the Morning After Pill as easy to purchase as aspirin or cold tablets. Consumers could buy it off the shelf, without a prescription.

Supporters say selling the drug over-the-counter would empower women, giving them more options after unprotected sex.

The drug is different from RU486, the pill which ends pregnancy if taken up to seven weeks after conception. Instead, when taken within three days of unprotected sex, the Morning After Pill, or "Plan B," prevents fertilization from occurring or a fertilized egg from implanting.

Opponents of selling "Plan B" over the counter say that life begins at conception, and that the so-called emergency contraception can actually abort a child.

Some also have concerns that without medical supervision, women will use the pills on a regular basis instead of birth control. They say, if it is available over the counter, there's no way to ensure that it is used in rare cases.

The FDA could also consider another option: "behind the counter" distribution. That way, a pharmacist would hand out the pills, but the consumer still wouldn't need a prescription.

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