Friday, 19 October 2012

EllaOne morning-after pill trial is dangerous

SPUC has described as dangerous a trial by The Co-operative Pharmacy chain of prescription-free sale of the EllaOne morning-after pill. EllaOne is claimed to work up to five days after sexual intercourse. The Co-operative Pharmacy is conducting the trial in 40 pharmacies. See The Telegraph report "'Five-day-after' pill to be sold at chemists' without prescription"

Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's communications manager, told the media this morning:
"Our main concern is that EllaOne is dangerous for unborn children. As well as a form of contraception, EllaOne can also act as a form of abortion, by making the lining of the womb hostile to newly-conceived human embryos, thus killing them. Women should be told that this is one of EllaOne's modes of action. (see note 1 below).

EllaOne and other so-called 'morning-after' pills are marketed as 'emergency' contraception, yet millions of packs have been sold in the UK alone over the past two decades. Older forms of morning-after pills have been widely available without prescription throughout the UK for 12 years now, and in that time the incidence of registered (i.e. post-implantation) abortions and of sexually-transmitted infections has continued to rise. As the work of Professor David Paton of Nottingham university has shown, increasing access to morning-after pills doesn't improve sexual health outcomes. (note 2)

Contraceptive use has a massive failure rate. Easy access to EllaOne will promote a casual attitude to sex by lulling people into a false sense of security about unplanned pregnancy. Abortion clinics are quite open about the fact that most women seeking abortion were using contraception when they fell pregnant.

We know from past experience that age restrictions won't stop under-16s from getting morning-after pills, and that many pharmacists won't ask the questions which the prescription-free protocol requires. Also, pharmacists don't have access to medical records and this places women at danger from side-effects. Some young women asking for morning-after pills will be under pressure from partners demanding sex or even wanting to hide abuse.

Society must move in the opposite direction, by reducing the level of premature sexual activity among young adults, and by defending marriage as the responsible place for sex."
Notes :
1) See SPUC's leaflet "Contraceptives: what you need to know", July 2012 Also see SPUC's briefing "Birth-control (‘contraception’) methods which can cause abortion", July 2012
2) See

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