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The Morning After Pill Makes News

What is the “Morning After” Pill? And Why is it in the News?

What, exactly, is a “morning after” pill? It is a safe and effective form of hormonal contraception designed to be used after birth control failure or unprotected sex. It uses levonorgestrel (a form of the hormone progestin) to avert pregnancy by preventing ovulation. This process makes it more difficult for sperm and egg to meet, and changes the chemistry of the uterus and cervix to make implantation on the uterine wall more difficult. It will not stop an existing pregnancy or prevent sexually transmitted infections. It is not intended as an ongoing birth control method.

Levorgestrel is considered safe and is currently available to girls age 17 and older.

The Morning After Pill Makes News

On Tuesday, April 30, U.S. District Court Judge Edward Korman ordered that Plan B emergency contraception be made available over the counter, without a prescription, to women ages 15 and older. The original argument by Kathleen Sibelius of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services against making it available to younger girls was the consideration that they might be unable to understand the directions. The Judge determined that age was not a factor in following the directions for use; however, in a last-minute move on Monday, May 13, the Obama administration filed an appeal to delay the judge’s ruling. The appeals court will address the issue on May 28. The judge’s ruling to lift the ban is delayed until then.

Learn more about the morning after pill: