Is it Safe?

Not only could EC kill a tiny preborn life in its earliest stages, but the 'morning-after' pill is also very dangerous to a woman's health.

There are no long term studies to show whether women will be permanently damaged, or risk such diseases as cancer, from these chemicals being given in such high doses.

  • The 'morning-after' pill causes an increase in the incidence of ectopic pregnancies (lodgement of the human embryo in the Fallopian tube rather than in the womb.)

    [Sheffer-Mimouni G, Pauzer D, Maslovitch S et al. Ectopic pregnancies following levonorgestrel contraception. Contraception. 2003;67:267-269]

    In one of these cases the affected Fallopian tube had to be surgically removed. As a result these women have a greatly reduced possibility of a future pregnancy.

    The common side-effects of the 'morning-after pill' (nausea and abdominal pain) are also the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy and could therefore mask the presence of this potentially life-threatening condition.

  • The 'morning-after' pill can also have serious interactions with prescribed medications. The British Medical Journal has reported that the 'morning-after' pill can interfere with warfarin medications.

    [Ellison J, Thomson AJ, Greer IA. Apparent interaction between warfarin and levonorgestrel used for emergency contraception. BMJ. 2000;321:1382 and Richards D. An Important drug interaction - an alternate mechanism. BMJ Rapid responses. 22 December 2000]

  • Dr. Ellen Grant, writing in the Lancet (2001) has expressed the concern that ". 5% of women have a genetic susceptibility to thromboembolic disease (blood clots)." When these women take the 'morning-after' pill - which is equal in strength to taking 50 regular birth control tablets - a blood clot might form.

    [Grant E. Adverse reactions and emergency contraception. Lancet. 2001;357:1201]

  • There is concern that the very high dose of hormone taken in the 'morning-after' pill might 'kick-start' cervical cancer if a woman is already infected with human papilloma virus.

    [Chen Y-H, Huang L-H, Chen T-M. Differential effects of progestins and estrogens on long control regions of human papillomavirus types 16 and 18.]

Even the notorious abortion promoter, David A Grimes, MD, who was a presenter for Plan B's manufacturer before the FDA advisory committee in December 2003, acknowledged in a 2002 interview that MAP have a serious negative effect on a woman's menstrual cycle:

"Repeated use of EC wreaks havoc on a woman's cycle, so the resulting menstrual chaos acts as a powerful deterrent to using this method too often."

In fact, the menstrual chaos Grimes warns about does not deter women from repeated and routine use of MAP, as studies have shown. But MAP-induced menstrual irregularities do make it hard for women to determine whether or not they are pregnant or experiencing delayed menses.

At home and abroad, the abortion, family planning, and population control groups which seek to promote MAP ignore the scientifically-proven risks of levonorgestrel (the sole active ingredient of Plan B MAP). These well-documented adverse side effects include significant weight gain (on average 15 pounds), depression, ovarian cyst enlargement, gallbladder disease, high blood pressure, respiratory disorders, increased risk of ectopic pregnancy and death. In some women, these serious adverse effects of levonorgestrel-type MAP could lead to further health risks for bulimia, anorexia, or clinical depression.

While these risks are multiplied with increased use, the advocates of MAP promote its increased, frequent, and repeated use. From the makers of Plan-B, MAP "can be provided as frequently as needed," as if it were candy or Tums. The wholesale promotion by the profiteers is undercut by solid evidence, and warnings advising women and physicians to limit usage, or to not use it at all. Norplant, the drug very similar to Plan B, was linked to severe medical problems which were never adequately studied or acknowledged by the FDA or the drug manufacturer (please see PRI's Norplant Information page).

Most importantly, there are no long-term studies to show whether women, especially young women, will be permanently damaged, or risk such diseases as cancer, from these chemicals being given in such high doses.

If one reads the patient information package insert for regular hormonal birth control, one will find that the side effects of hormonal contraceptives include:

  • increased susceptibility to the AIDS virus (HIV), because they weaken the immune system,
  • increased risk of cervical cancer
  • increased risk of breast cancer
  • endometrial atrophy (the shrinking of the lining of the womb)
  • blood clots, which can be fatal (even greater risk in younger women)
  • stroke

The dose of estrogen in the current birth control pill, which is erroneously billed as "safe", has potency four times greater than that of the estrogen used in hormone replacement therapy (HRT). HRT has been conclusively shown to increase the risk of stroke (41%), pulmonary embolism (113%), breast cancer (26%), and coronary heart disease (29%).

Plan B contains the same active ingredient as Norplant, a hormonal contraceptive removed from the market in the U.S. because of its dangerous side effects. More than 36,000 women have been awarded over $50 million for injuries caused by Norplant.

Dispensation of the regular birth control pill requires completion of a patient's medical history and physician oversight due to all of these possible harmful side effects. And we're actually considering over-the-counter status for a drug which is even more powerful?

A Project of American Life League