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Controversy Surrounding Emergency Contraception

By HERWriter
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 emergency contraceptives are surrounded by controversy iStockphoto/Thinkstock

The Food and Drug Administration updated its consumer guide to birth control last week, deleting claims two kinds of contraceptives — the morning-after pill and the copper IUD — can prohibit an egg from implanting in the womb after fertilization, reported the Daily Beast.

Previously, it read the morning-after pill may “stop an egg from attaching (implanting to the uterus).” Now the “implanting” line is gone. Morning-after pills include Plan B and Ella and are taken after sex to prevent pregnancy.

The Daily Beast wrote that this is significant because a number of religious groups, pro-life activists, and politicians view contraceptives that prevent implantation as the equivalent of abortion, since the egg has already been fertilized.

It continued on saying that the changes follow a recent New York Times report questioning FDA claims the morning-after pill prohibits implantation.

While it may be nearly impossible to prove without a doubt that these pills don't stop fertilized eggs from attaching, studies overwhelmingly reveal they don't have that effect, the Times wrote.

Time Magazine said, in short, that the pills work by delaying ovulation — the release of eggs from the ovaries, which occurs before fertilization — to keep sperm from reaching the egg.

Emergency contraception may also work by thickening cervical mucus so sperm have trouble getting around. The pills block fertilization from the start.

The Daily Beast reported the Times said the FDA decided during the drug-approval process to say that the pill can prevent eggs from implanting despite "lack of scientific proof."

According to CBS News, Dr. Kristina Gemzell-Danielsson, an obstetrics and gynecology professor at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, who participated in the FDA-approval process, told the Times that the implantation explanation was included because scientists thought it made the medication seem more effective.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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