EllaOne: Emergency contraception pill or abortive agent?

February 2nd, 2010 - 5:32 pm ICT by ANI  

Washigton, Feb 2 (ANI): Although the new emergency contraceptive pill, EllaOne, has been found more effective than morning-after pill, its use has ignited a debate whether it prevents pregnancy or is it an abortive agent.

EllaOne is 50 percent more effective - and effective for 48 hours longer - than the “morning-after pill” or Plan B.

It could prevent pregnancy up to five days after unprotected intercourse.

In the study involving 1,700 women aged 16 to 36, women who took a morning-after pill had a 2.6 percent chance of becoming pregnant, while women who took ellaOne had only a 1.8 percent chance, and five-day window of opportunity to take the pill.

The new pill has also been found to be even two-third times more effective if taken within 24 hours of intercourse.

For those who support the use of emergency contraceptives, ellaOne is an important and vital innovation that will provide more reliable pregnancy prevention.

However, critics believe that the drug is not so much emergency contraception as emergency abortion.

“This is a thinly-veiled attempt to get an abortion drug over-the-counter,” ABC News quoted Dr. Donna Harrison, president of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Because fertilization of egg and sperm can only be prevented within 24 hours of intercourse, Harrison says, any emergency contraceptive that is effective five days after sex has to work by preventing the fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus which.

If one believes pregnancy begins with fertilization that would be considered abortion.

“To label this as emergency contraception when it’s clearly an abortive action is dishonest,” she added.

However, according to Dr. Lauren Streicher, clinical instructor in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern Medical School, thinking that emergency contraception is equivalent to an abortion “is a big misconception.”

She said it takes five to seven days for the fertilized egg to implant in the uterus and begin to grow. If one interrupts the process before this implantation takes place, pregnancy never begins.

“There are many people who are reluctant to take emergency contraception because they think it’s abortive, but it’s apples and oranges,” she said.

“With emergency contraception, it’s really to stop a pregnancy of occurring,” she added.

Harrison fears that over-the-counter availability of ellaOne would boost the chances for misuse and adverse side effects.

“That’s the purpose, to slip an abortive agent into the country as an over-the-counter drug. It’s deceitful,” she added.

The study appears in journal Lancet. (ANI)

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