Please see this post for further information about corrections that have already been made to the post below. The following remains accurate as the information still would be accurate for Progestogen/Estrogen-based contraceptives including some MAPs, but not for Plan B which is progestogen-only.
"This is a pill proved safe and effective for all ages."
That’s Ellen Goodman’s belief about the Morning After Pill (MAP). I’d say she’s "misinformed" but she isn’t: I’ve written her before about the valid scientific research published by the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in its Internal Medicine Archives, and in another study, commissioned by the World Health Organisation, published in the UK’s equivalent, The Lancet. We wrote about the increased blood clot and cervical cancer risks from the standard birth control pills in this recent post.
This research, she ignores.
Some MAPs (not including "Plan B"), as defined by doctors and pharmacists, can be "a very high dose of the two female hormones called estrogen and progesterone." It can also be a second type, with the progestin progesterone alone, such as PLAN B, according to the Women’s Issues page of the popular About.com website.
[RE: "progestin:" The FDA says progesterone is one kind of progestin, as are DepoProvera and Norplant.]
How much higher doses are the two-hormone MAPs? They are typically 10-20 times the progesterone and 5 times the estrogen as in the standard daily Pill.
If "standard birth control" hormones can harm women, then so can "a very high dose" of the same hormones. And it's entirely possible that the order of magnitude could parallel the increased dosage: 5, 10 or 20 times the harm.
Then there’s the increased breast cancer risk. It’s why they ask at our annual mammogram/breast checks how long we've taken The Pill in our lifetime.
Goodman also opines that "…under pressure from the prolife fringe that insists against all evidence that emergency contraception is abortion in disguise, the FDA caved," by disapproving MAPs for over-the-counter purchase by anyone under 17.
If, by recognizing scientific facts that The Pill and dual-hormone MAPs harm me, my friends and their daughters, that means I’m "the prolife fringe," then I’m guilty.
And while the first two ways MAPs work (delay ovulation, prevent fertilization) do prevent pregnancies, the third (inhibit implantation by altering the uterine lining) stops the pregnancy if it has started (if the egg was fertilized). A prochoice website advocating birth control and MAP use states,
"…[progesterone]…keeps the lining thin and inhospitable for implantation (the burrowing of the fertilized egg into the uterine lining)."Even pharmacists note that on The Pill,
"…your periods are lighter…because the lining of the womb has not developed properly…the womb is not in the right stage of development to allow a fertilized egg to attach properly (…known as implantation)."It’s been in sworn U.S. Senate testimony by six world-renowned scientists and in well-used medical school textbooks since 1977:
"The cell (a single-celled zygote) results from fertilization of an oocyte [egg] by a sperm and is the beginning of human life." (The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 2nd Ed., 1977, by Keith L. Moore).It’s science—not what Ms. Goodman calls "ideology"—that is saying that when the egg is fertilized (thus pregnancy has started), then MAPs can and do stop that pregnancy.
Why do we want our 13 year old granddaughters, daughters and nieces to buy a drug that harms them and can cause an abortion, as easily as they could buy toothpaste?