Monday, June 11, 2012

Claims that "Morning-After Pill" Causes Abortion Appear Unsupported by Science

The New York Times: Abortion Qualms on Morning-After Pill May Be Unfounded, by Pam Belluck:

Labels inside every box of morning-after pills, drugs widely used to prevent pregnancy after sex, say they may work by blocking fertilized eggs from implanting in a woman’s uterus. Respected medical authorities, including the National Institutes of Health and the Mayo Clinic, have said the same thing on their Web sites.

Such descriptions have become kindling in the fiery debate over abortion and contraception. . . .

But an examination by The New York Times has found that the federally approved labels and medical Web sites do not reflect what the science shows. Studies have not established that emergency contraceptive pills prevent fertilized eggs from implanting in the womb, leading scientists say. . . .

The New York Times: Drug's Nickname May Have Aided Politicization, by Pam Belluck:

Scientists say that one reason emergency contraceptives have become so politicized is that their nickname, “morning-after pills,” has given rise to misconceptions about how the drugs help preventpregnancy after sex.

“It’s not the morning after fertilization — it’s the morning after intercourse,” said Diana Blithe, program director for contraceptive development for the National Institute on Child Health and Human Development, part of the National Institutes of Health. “People think that the act of intercourse results in pregnancy immediately, within a minute after you have sex. They don’t understand how long it takes sperm to get ready to fertilize.” . . . Emergency Contraception Is Not Abortion, by Amanda Marcotte:

No one is happier than I am to see the New York Times do an extensive piece debunking the myth that emergency contraception works, either primarily or secondarily, by killing fertilized eggs. The actual scientific evidence plus pre-existing knowledge of how hormones affect the body has long pointed to ovulation suppression as the only possible way that emergency contraception could work. Despite this, anti-choice activists and politicians have gone out of their way to confuse people about the difference between emergency contraception and abortion. Their excuse for why they "get" to lie to the public about this has been the packaging that states that hormonal contraception might also work by preventing the implantation of a fertilized egg. Even though that's not abortion—abortion terminates pregnancy, which begins at implantation—for the anti-choice crew, that was good enough to justify the lie. . . .

Abortion, Contraception, Science | Permalink

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