The Morning After Pill Essay, Research Paper
The Morning After Pill
The emergency contraception pill, often wrongly called the abortion pill, is a solution to the high teen pregnancy rate in the USA. There were 521,826 teen mothers in the United States in 1990 (Adolescent pregnancy 2). The United States also has the highest rate of pregnancy, abortion, and childbirth among teenagers than any other country (McKeown 1). Also, the Untied States spends an unbelievable 7 billion dollars a year on teen pregnancy costs (National Campaign To Prevent Teen Pregnancy 1). Not only does teen pregnancy cause problems for the babies of these mothers, and the United States tax payers, but the teen mothers themselves suffer too. Teen mothers are less likely to finish high school and are at a greater risk of abusing or neglecting their children (National Campaign To Prevent Teen Pregnancy 2). Teen pregnancy is a flaw in the United States that is not going away, but getting worse with every generation. Despite attempts to educate children about sex, contraception and abstinence the rate of teen pregnancy is still extremely high. The emergency contraception pill, ECP, is a good solution for these pregnant teenage girls and for the United States tax payers.
An argument that most people have is that the emergency contraception pill is an “abortion pill,” and should not be used to combat teen pregnancy. This assumption is not an accurate one. The emergency contraception pill is not anything like the RU-486 pill, which is known as the “abortion pill.” The way the RU-486 works, is when taken a chemical abortion occurs (Mathewes-Green 1). The pill can be taken up to 63 days from the first day of a woman’s period. The way the RU-486 forces an abortion is when the pill is taken it causes the woman to have uterine contractions and miscarry within 4
hours. The fetus is expelled from the woman just as if she would have had a regular abortion (Mathewes-Green 2). The RU-486 is an abortion pill. Taking the RU-486 is like having a surgical abortion. The ECP should no longer be confused with the RU-486 pill. The ECP prevents conception instead of inducing a miscarriage (Rosenthal 2). The ECP is taken before fertilization has taken place, while the RU-486 pill is killing the child because it has already matured into a fetus. (Stewart 9). Many people think taking this pill is just like killing their child, as if they were taking the RU-486 pill or getting a surgical abortion. This is an incorrect assumption on their part. The ECP is taken within 72 hours of having unprotected sex, before the egg has been fertilized. This proves that the ECP is not interfering with reproduction (Stewart 9).
Since the ECP is not an abortion pill, then how does it work? There are ten brands of emergency contraception pills, Ovral, Lo/Ovral, Levien, Nordette, Levora, Alesse, Tri-Levien, Triphasil, Trivora, and Ovrette. These brands contain different combinations of Norgestrel, Ethinyl Estradiol, and Levonorgestrel (Stewart 7). The emergency contraception pill is much like birth control pills that many women take on an everyday basis, but just contain a higher dosage of hormones then regular birth control pills (McKeown 1). The pills should be taken within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse to ensure effectiveness. Treatment is divided into two doses. The first dose is taken within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse. The second dose is taken within 12 hours of the first dose (Rosenthal 1). The pills should be taken with food and a anti-nausea pill such as Dramamine to reduce nausea . The doctor or health care provider will include an extra set of pills in case the patient vomits after taking a dose of the medication. If
vomiting occurs within 2 hours of treatment, then the extra dose of pills should be taken. If vomiting occurs the patient should call the health care provider just to double check with them on what they should do (Stewart 7). The main side effect is nausea which is experienced by 50% of women who take these pills. Some very rare side effects include clots in the legs, lungs, stroke, high blood pressure and liver damage. These side effects are greater for smokers and women over 35. These are also common side affects found in birth control pills (All Women’s Medical Pavilion 1). It is also important that patients know that the Food And Drug Association has judged the ECP safe and effective
The way the ECP pill works to prevent pregnancy is not what most people think. It was believed that the ECP pill prevented pregnancy by altering the uterine lining to prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg (Rosenthal 1). Recent studies show that “interference at an earlier stage to prevent ovulation may be the primary mechanism of drug action” (Stewart 9). This is a very important point to point out to patients because it shows that the pill is not interfering with reproduction, because fertilization hasn’t taken place yet. This is an important point for people whose religions prohibit interference with pregnancy once fertilization takes place. The ECP pill when taken is also 75% effective in preventing a pregnancy.
Since this pill is a wonderful solution to the high rate of teen pregnancy in the USA, and this could save the 7 billion dollars put towards teen pregnancy cost, why aren’t more people aware of this pill? Studies have shown that lack of awareness on behalf of health care providers is not the problem. The problem is the health care
providers are not telling their patients about the ECP pills as an option for them. They are also not informing the staff members regarding dosage and side effects. Also these doctors aren’t keeping prepackaged ECP pills in their offices. The patients had to find out on their own that the ECP pill was an option for them (Stewart 2). This pill is also not advertised on television or on the radio. Many states are not advertising the ECP pills on television so that consumers can become more aware of this pill as an option for them in emergency situations. Although the state of Pennsylvania has made steps to get the word out about the ECP pills by involving all of the Family Planning Clinics in a system that provides medication information about the ECP pills to every patient that wishes to receive the pills (Stewart 12). This is a good step to take, but other states need to start advertising the ECP pills. There are organizations that promote the availability of ECP pills, but they also do not advertise as much as they need to. The American Society For Emergency Contraception is an organization that was established in 1997 (Consortium For Emergency Contraception 1). This group wants to get information out to people about the ECP pills, and to inform people that have wrong conceptions about the ECP pills.
The ECP is an effective drug, but how will it help decrease the high rate of teen pregnancy in the USA? Due to the high rates of abortions within the first trimester of pregnancies and chemical abortions induced by using the RU-486 pill, the ECP pill is the right step to take in combating teen pregnancy. If more teenagers and consumers were aware completely about the ECP pill, and how it works, then more teenagers would take advantage of using this pill. If this pill was advertised on television, radio and in
magazines the word about this pill would get out to teenagers. If more doctors prescribed this pill, then the rate of teen pregnancy would drop. 99% of obstetricians, gynecologists, nurse practitioners, and physicians believe the ECP pills to be safe and effective. Yet only about 15% of them have discussed the ECP pills with their patients (Stewart 2). Of the same group of people about 50% of physicians had not prescribed ECP pill at all in the past year (Stewart 2). If these doctors would discuss the ECP pill with their patients, especially their teenage patients both male and female, the pill would become more well known and used. This would cause the high rate of teen pregnancy to drop. If doctors would also explain how the ECP pills are not an abortion pill, people would be more likely to accept and take the pill in an emergency situation.
The ECP is the only true hope the USA has against fighting teen pregnancy and its expensive costs. The ECP is not an abortion pill and is not interfering with reproduction. The method in which the pill is taken is quite simple, when explained by a doctor. The pill is effective in preventing pregnancy and just needs to be advertised more to inform more people. The ideal situation would be for teens to abstain from sex or to use birth control effectively. Yet, this is not happening. The ECP is the only way the USA can get the problem of teen pregnancy under control.