The Morning After Pill for Emergency Contraception

Woman taking the morning-after pill

Use of the morning after pill has created controversy ever since it first appeared. So much controversy, in fact, that there are actually fake "medical" websites about the pill that offer one-sided, pretend advice slanted toward not taking the pill. This is why it's important to talk to a real doctor about the pill or visit a credible website such as the Mayo Clinic or Web M.D.

Basics About This Pill

Don't just read a Plan B wiki or birth control pills wiki to learn about the morning after pill. Make sure to get the facts from reliable sources. Here are some basics about the pill:

  • Morning after pills are often called Emergency Birth Control or EBC.
  • EBC can actually be used up to three days after you have unprotected sex, so the term "morning after" is not really correct.
  • In the most general terms, EBC works like birth control pills but offers a larger dose of estrogen and progestin, thus preventing (in most cases) conception from occurring.
  • There are estrogen and progestin mixed pills like Preven and progestin-only EBC like Plan B available.
  • There are some morning after pill problems and side effects you can run into.

Do You Need A Prescription for EBC?

Plan B birth control is the most used progestin-only EBC and is offered without prescription to women older than 18 years of age. Women 17 years old and younger need a prescription for Plan B. However, prescription rules do vary by state. It's best to call a local pharmacy or two to find out, but if one turns you down try another because not all pharmacies carry EBC. One good way to find out how to obtain this pill is by talking with your local Planned Parenthood. They'll offer non-biased and real information.

Confusion About Morning After Pills

Morning after pills are not abortion pills as many websites state. In fact, this pill has nothing to do abortion, it simply stops a woman from becoming pregnant if she had unprotected sex or another issue, like a broken condom. EBC works after sex and before you're pregnant - that's a large distinction.

If you're already pregnant, morning after pills are never used to initiate an abortion. That pill is called RU-486 or Mifepristone.

How Many Times Can You Take the Morning After Pill?

There is no limit on how many times you can take EBC. However, it's not meant to be a routine birth control, which all EBC manufacturers and doctors will tell you. Repeated use can cause menstrual cycle changes. Plus, EBC is not as reliable as other forms of birth control and does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases like, say, condoms will. If you need regular birth control, talk with your doctor about birth control methods. If you can't afford birth control, there are free and sliding scale clinics in almost every city throughout the country. Check with Planned Parenthood or look up your state's resources at the Health Resources and Services Administration website.

Does Christianity Support the Morning After Pill?

In most cases, it appears that Christianity does not support morning after pills. Here are a few organizations that do not support this pill.

  • Pro-Life America, while not an entirely "out" Christian group, does quote the bible frequently enough to make an argument that they are, in fact, a Christian group. This group states that the "Morning-After Pills cause early abortions." That statement, scientifically, is not at all true.

An article written for the Christian Science Monitor seems a little more realistic about EBC, noting that yes, there are people against it but it did prevent 51,000 abortions in 2000, and that was when you could only get it by prescription. This article also points out the following smart argument:

"Proponents note that adolescents already have access to condoms and other over-the-counter contraceptives. The morning-after pill simply provides another method that can be used in an emergency situation."

An excellent point. Obviously what it comes down to is personal conviction. It's a woman's right to have all the information about EBC and other contraceptives available to her. If she chooses to use them, it's her decision. Taking charge of your fertility means you do what's right for you to stay healthy and happy. No one can force you one way or the other to use contraceptive devices or not.

Make an Informed Decision

Make sure you have all the non-biased facts and then come to your own conclusion. Counselors at schools, churches, midwives, nurses, and doctors are all people you can turn to if you need help deciding.

The Morning After Pill for Emergency Contraception