Abortifacient morning after pill can now be posted out

05 April 2019

Morning After Pill
Women will now be able to get the morning-after pill posted to them.

“This move very much fits into the strategy of normalising abortion and abortifacient drugs."

EllaOne, a brand of the morning-after pill, or “emergency contraception”, is now being delivered straight to women’s doors, without an in-person medical consultation.

For the last six weeks, EllaOne has been trialling an express service in Greater London, where the morning-after pill can be delivered within three hours. For anyone outside London, next day delivery of the pill is guaranteed.

Women are usually required to have a consultation with a pharmacist before receiving the morning-after pill to make sure it is not contraindicated for them and does not conflict with any medications they are taking. EllaOne is getting around this by having women fill in an online form.

What's in the morning-after pill?

The active ingredient in EllaOne is Ulipristal Acetate. It is claimed to be effective for up to 120 hours (five days) after intercourse and works by binding to progesterone receptors to inhibit the effect of progesterone, thus suppressing or delaying ovulation, as well as decreasing endometrial thickness and receptivity – an effect which could stop an already conceived embryo from implanting and cause an early abortion.

The drug more commonly used in the morning-after pill is Levonorgestrel, a progestin, and it is not known exactly how it works. There is debate on whether and how often 'emergency contraceptives'  are abortifacient, i.e. work by altering the lining of the uterus to prevent fertilisation should this occur.   

Medical information says EllaOne should not be used repeatedly, and studies have linked use to increased risk of blood clots and ectopic pregnancy. A drug information website warns repeatedly that ulipristal “can harm an unborn baby or cause birth defects", telling readers: "Do not use emergency contraception if you are already pregnant or think you might be pregnant.”  "Pregnant" here likely refers, however, to an already-implanted, not a just-conceived embryo. 

Not enough for bpas

Abortion provider bpas have been running a campaign to prevent the requirement that women have  any consultation with a pharmacist, and to reduce the price (Boots had to threaten legal action after their staff were harassed on this).

Accordingly, while bpas have welcomed the mail delivery service, they say it doesn’t go far enough, and that the potentially abortifacient drugs “should be available to pick up off the shelf at your pharmacy or supermarket, without inquisition (or demands you take a pregnancy test), for less than a tenner.”

Nothing to do with healthcare for women

SPUC’s Dr Anthony McCarthy said: “This move very much fits into the strategy of normalising abortion and abortifacient drugs. Having the consultation completed online means it is even less likely that women will be told the facts about what EllaOne does, and what the side-effects can be. Bpas condemn pharmacists who believe women should be properly informed about these powerful drugs, or who suggest they take a pregnancy test first, but how many women are aware of how these drugs can work? Women who have been told that ‘emergency contraception’ is indeed purely contraceptive might well pause before taking a drug that could harm their embryo, including an embryo so young that even pregnancy tests cannot yet reveal its presence. 

"It is clearly wrong that a drug which may work sometimes by ending an already conceived human life should be made even more freely available than it is now. This has nothing do with healthcare or the care of women, and everything to do with repugnant and life-denying ideology promoted by a highly profitable industry.”

News in brief: