I’ll admit that I don’t like Over The Counter hormone preparations. But isn’t this going too far in the name of convenience?
Students at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania can get the “morning-after” pill by sliding $25 into a vending machine, an idea that has drawn the attention of federal regulators and raised questions about how accessible emergency contraception should be.
The pill only works during 5 or 6 days of a girl’s cycle. But what if she throws her cycle off several times a month?
And studies show that even when women have the pills in the medicine cabinet, they don’t use it correctly.
BTW, I’m convinced that Plan B is not an abortifacient – does not cause abortions by interfering with implantation or development if there is fertilization. It can block ovulation for 5 days before ovulation and it makes the mucus thick at the cervix and uterus so sperm and egg have a hard time getting together. It doesn’t change the way that implantation goes and it may even encourage the protection of the new embryo by moma’s body
If, as I believe, the pills only work in preventing fertilization, they are only medically justified/necessary 5 days before or one or 2 days just after ovulation, the window of fertility. The other 20 days or so of the menstrual cycle, the pills are useless and un-necessary.
The best evidence is that Plan B works to prevent ovulation or to prevent the oocyte (the “egg”) from being released from the ovary and passing to the fallopian tube. This is why the pill is best (and only?) functional before ovulation. In nature, the egg only lives about 24 hours and sperm can live from 2 to 5 days. If the egg is not released, is over 24 hours old, if the sperm cannot get to the egg or if they are dead or incapacitated, there can be no fertilization.
The only post-ovulation effect that has been proven that could prevent pregnancy also prevents fertilization. Levonorgestrel causes the mucus in the cervix to be thick (so sperm have a hard time getting to the uterus and then the fallopian tube where the egg is) and by making the sperm unable to penetrate the zona pellucida, the covering and nurturing cells around the oocyte or egg.
Remember Natural Family Planning? This is the method of following body temp and cervical mucus changes to help figure out when a woman is fertile and when she’s not. The post-ovulatory changes that indicate the non-fertile time immediately following ovulation are due to a progesterone similar to the one that is in Plan B.
Also, the progesterone increases the likelihood of implantation and supports that early pregnancy by delaying the period and encouraging the lining of the uterus to develop.
Of course, the single, small dose in Plan B doesn’t have as great an effect as the hormones from the corpus luteum after ovulation.