FDA specifies Plan B emergency contraceptive does not cause abortions

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The emergency contraceptive pill, marketed as Plan B One-Step, does not prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus and does not cause an abortion, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Friday. It said it was updating the information contained in the accompanying leaflet.

Previously, the product label stated that the pill could interfere with the implantation of a fertilized egg. Anti-abortion advocates used the statement to argue that emergency contraception could cause abortions.

However, scientific evidence does not support it. Instead, the pill, a potent dose of the birth control hormone levonorgestrel, prevents or delays the release of eggs from a woman’s ovaries. This is a step that occurs well before conception.

“Plan B One Step does not work if a person is already pregnant, meaning it does not affect existing pregnancies,” the FDA said in newly updated information about the product. Pregnancy cannot be terminated because there is no evidence that this drug affects implantation or maintenance of pregnancy after implantation.”

The FDA says it changed the labeling after Plan B manufacturers requested it and completed a scientific review.

Plan B is an over-the-counter backup method of birth control. It prevents pregnancy when primary contraception in couples fails or after unprotected sex.

Demand for emergency contraceptives, including Plan B, surged earlier this year after the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade removed the federal constitutional right to abortion.

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