Morning-after pill safeguard necessary for women’s health

Women should be given the safeguard of a doctor’s prescription before taking the morning after pill, president of the ACT Right to Life Association, Mary Joseph said today. Ms Joseph was commenting on plans by Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott to put the morning-after pill Postinor-2 back onto a prescription-only list.

“It is safer for women to have the morning-after pill on prescription, rather than available over-the-counter. The morning-after pill is a hormonal preparation 50 times stronger than the mini pill. Prescriptions are necessary for many other hormonal drugs. It should be the same for the morning-after pill.

“Reports that sales have doubled and that girls as young as 13 are buying the drug are a concern. The manufacturer’s own product information cautions that there is ‘limited data available in young women of childbearing potential aged 14 to 16 years’.

“Postinor-2 can cause an early abortion by preventing an embryo from implanting in the womb. The drug continues to be described in debate as a contraceptive. But preventing the implantation of an embryo happens after conception. Women can’t give their informed consent to using the drug without knowing this.

“A requirement for a prescription would ensure the opportunity for a doctor to consider the woman’s medical history and to do a medical examination before making a judgement as to whether Postinor-2 is a suitable drug for a particular woman.

“This would include considering issues such as whether the woman is already pregnant, or whether the woman suffers from a range of conditions such as severe hypertension, unexplained vaginal bleeding or hypersensitivity to any of the ingredients of the drug.”

Issued:    15 June 2004
Contact:  Mary Joseph, president of the ACT Right to Life Association Inc,
telephone 02 6253 3100.

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