A New York Times investigation released yesterday shows that the main argument used by critics of the morning-after pill does not reflect current scientific findings. Opponents of the morning-after pill argue that the pill prevents pregnancy by blocking fertilized eggs from implanting in the uterus. However, the New York Times investigation shows that studies do not suggest that the morning-after pill works in this way.
According to the report, the morning-after pill delays ovulation, which is the release of an egg from the ovaries before fertilization, or thickens the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching the egg. As a result, the argument that fertilized eggs are blocked from implanting is invalid, and the morning-after pill is not a so-called “abortion-inducing drug” as opponents have argued. The New York Times says the misconception is the result of the Food and Drug Administration’s requirement that Plan B, the oldest morning-after pill on the market, lists on its label that implantation could be blocked. However, researchers say that there has always been a lack of scientific proof of this and that the research used by the FDA is outdated.
The morning-after pill has come under attack from anti-abortion organizations and individuals, especially after the Obama Administration announced a rule that required all employers to cover contraceptives, including emergency contraceptives, in their health insurance plans without co-pays or deductibles.
New York Times 6/5/12; ThinkProgress 6/5/12; the Hill 6/5/12