Pro-life supporters around the nation continue to bash emergency contraception, or “morning after pills,” claiming they are used for abortions, despite substantial evidence to the contrary.
The pills are considered a last resort when other methods of birth control fail or have not been used and is not meant to be used as a regular option. If taken within the first 72 hours after sexual intercourse, emergency contraception can prevent pregnancy and has been labeled 99 percent effective by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Dr. Donna Harrison, Director of Research for the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, echoed the sentiments of many pro-life activists and politicians, telling The New York Times that the pills are “the moral equivalent of homicide.”
At a February campaign event in Colorado, Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney called emergency contraception “abortive pills,” questioned what the pills actually do and their place in society.
According to the Times, much of the confusion surrounding the issue may lie in the wording on the pills’ label.
Currently, wording in the instructions for the pills says that the drug works by preventing a fertilized egg from implanting itself in the uterus.
Studies now show that pregnancy is actually prevented by delaying the release of the egg until sperm is no longer strong enough or present to cause conception. Some of the pills even thicken the mucus found along the cervical wall to further prevent sperm from reaching the egg that will have a delayed release.
As the egg is not fertilized, no abortion takes place because there is no opportunity for a fertilized egg to connect to the uterus and grow a fetus full-term.
”Labeling of a drug may change as more becomes known about a drug after it is approved, usually at the request of a company to reflect new information from clinical trials or other scientific sources,” Erica Jefferson, FDA spokesperson, told CNN.
The drug is a large dose of levonorgestrel, which is used in other forms of routine birth control pills at lower doses. Taking emergency contraception after an egg is fertilized does not cause an abortion or harm a fetus already growing, according to Plan-B, makers of the name-brand form of the pill.
The morning after pill has been an effective method of birth control for women over age 18 since 1999 without a prescription, according to CNN.