New "Pill" Raises Debate

8 years 1 month 4 weeks ago Wednesday, August 25 2010 Aug 25, 2010 Wednesday, August 25, 2010 4:43:07 AM CDT August 25, 2010 in News
Source: News Service
ST. LOUIS - Missouri women have a new option for preventing an unintended pregnancy. It's called "ella," an emergency contraception pill approved recently by the FDA that reduces the chances of pregnancy for up to five days after unprotected sex. Critics of emergency contraception say it's really a form of abortion, because it prevents a fertilized egg from implanting in the womb. But the Rev. Rebecca Turner, executive director of Faith Aloud, says the new pill will not disrupt an existing pregnancy.

"The real conflict comes from those people who say that life begins at fertilization rather than at the beginning of pregnancy."

Turner says ella is an improvement over "Plan B," which loses its ability to prevent pregnancy after three days. "Plan B" is the most widely used emergency contraception pill available over the counter for women 17 and older. Ella's approval may intensify the debate over whether doctors and pharmacists can refuse to prescribe or fill emergency contraception prescriptions, Turner adds.

"It's possible that women will really have to ask for it. We don't yet have enough experience with it, since it has just been approved, to know if pharmacies are going to be good about carrying it, if doctors are going to be good about prescribing it." Missouri has no statutes related to emergency contraception.

As a result, Turner says, it's at hospitals' discretion whether or not they will provide it. "Many emergency rooms are still not doing this, but it just makes good sense that every woman who has been a victim of rape would want to know that she can prevent pregnancy at that time and not be worrying about whether or not a pregnancy is going to occur." The National Institutes of Health estimate more than 25,000 women become pregnant every year after being sexually assaulted.

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