Pill that prevents pregnancy gets boost

Associated Press

CHICAGO — The American Medical Association is wading into the morally fraught debate over whether the "morning-after" pill should be made available over the counter.

While the Vatican recently condemned the emergency contraceptive and the nation’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart, decided last year not to sell it, the AMA’s Council on Medical Service is recommending that it be made easier to obtain.

The council’s report is scheduled to be debated by a committee Sunday at an AMA meeting in Orlando, Fla. The committee could then send it to the AMA’s policymaking House of Delegates during the four-day meeting.

Taken within three days of sexual intercourse, the contraceptives are essentially high-dose birth control pills that prevent ovulation or, if that has already occurred, block implantation of a fertilized egg. In most cases, they are available only by prescription.

The AMA council said that some women might not be able to get the pills in time to prevent a pregnancy, so the AMA "should request that the Food and Drug Administration consider making emergency contraception pills available over the counter."

The pills are "considered safe and effective by the medical community as a whole," the council said.

There are two morning-after pills on the market: Preven and Plan B. They were approved for U.S. use within the past two years.

Planned Parenthood President Gloria Feldt said AMA support for over-the-counter use would be "an extremely important step for prevention of unintended pregnancy in a country where half of all pregnancies are unintended."

Feldt noted that Washington state recently began allowing pharmacists to provide the pills without a prescription, but with counseling. Some Planned Parenthood clinics provide the pills to women beforehand, with counseling, in case they need them at some point, Feldt said.

"If every woman of reproductive age had ready access to it, it could prevent 800,000 abortions a year," Feldt said Thursday.

Though morning-after pills are not as widely opposed as the RU-486 prescription abortion pill approved by the FDA in September, foes consider them a form of abortion since an egg could have been fertilized by the time a woman takes them.

Planned Parenthood does not consider the method abortion since it does not work if a fertilized egg has already implanted itself in the uterus, the scientific definition of pregnancy, Feldt said.

The National Right to Life Committee issued a statement saying it opposes destroying a fertilized egg but has no position on methods to prevent fertilization.

Copyright ©2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Traffic idles while waiting for the lights to change along 33rd Avenue West on Tuesday, April 2, 2024 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Lynnwood seeks solutions to Costco traffic boondoggle

Let’s take a look at the troublesome intersection of 33rd Avenue W and 30th Place W, as Lynnwood weighs options for better traffic flow.

A memorial with small gifts surrounded a utility pole with a photograph of Ariel Garcia at the corner of Alpine Drive and Vesper Drive ion Wednesday, April 10, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Death of Everett boy, 4, spurs questions over lack of Amber Alert

Local police and court authorities were reluctant to address some key questions, when asked by a Daily Herald reporter this week.

The new Amazon fulfillment center under construction along 172nd Street NE in Arlington, just south of Arlington Municipal Airport. (Chuck Taylor / The Herald) 20210708
Frito-Lay leases massive building at Marysville business park

The company will move next door to Tesla and occupy a 300,0000-square-foot building at the Marysville business park.

An Alaska Airline plane lands at Paine Field Saturday on January 23, 2021. (Kevin Clark/The Herald)
Alaska Airlines back in the air after all flights grounded Wednesday

Alaska Airlines flights, including those from Paine Field, were grounded for an hour Wednesday morning.

A Mukilteo firefighter waves out of a fire truck. (Photo provided by Mukilteo Fire Department)
EMS levy lift would increase tax bill $200 for average Mukilteo house

A measure rejected by voters in 2023 is back. “We’re getting further and further behind as we go through the days,” Fire Chief Glen Albright said.

An emergency overdose kit with naloxone located next to an emergency defibrillator at Mountain View student housing at Everett Community College on Tuesday, March 5, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
To combat fentanyl, Snohomish County trickles out cash to recovery groups

The latest dispersal, $77,800 in total, is a wafer-thin slice of the state’s $1.1 billion in opioid lawsuit settlements.

A giant Bigfoot creation made by Terry Carrigan, 60, at his home-based Skywater Studios on Sunday, April 14, 2024 in Monroe, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
The 1,500-pound Sasquatch: Bigfoot comes to life in woods near Monroe

A possibly larger-than-life sculpture, created by Terry Carrigan of Skywater Studios, will be featured at this weekend’s “Oddmall” expo.

Deputy prosecutors Bob Langbehn and Melissa Samp speak during the new trial of Jamel Alexander on Tuesday, April 16, 2024, at Snohomish County Superior Court in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Second trial begins for man accused of stomping Everett woman to death

In 2021, a jury found Jamel Alexander guilty of first-degree murder in the killing of Shawna Brune. An appellate court overturned his conviction.

Lynnwood
New Jersey company acquires Lynnwood Land Rover dealership

Land Rover Seattle, now Land Rover Lynnwood, has been purchased by Holman, a 100-year-old company.

Dave Calhoun, center, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on Jan. 24. (Samuel Corum / Bloomberg)
Boeing fired lobbying firm that helped it navigate 737 Max crashes

Amid congressional hearings on Boeing’s “broken safety culture,” the company has severed ties with one of D.C.’s most powerful firms.

Authorities found King County woman Jane Tang who was missing since March 2 near Heather Lake. (Family photo)
Body of missing woman recovered near Heather Lake

Jane Tang, 61, told family she was going to a state park last month. Search teams found her body weeks later.

Deborah Wade (photo provided by Everett Public Schools)
‘We are heartbroken’: Everett teacher died after driving off Tulalip road

Deborah Wade “saw the world and found beauty in people,” according to her obituary. She was 56.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.