College Again Urges Caution on Emergency Contraception

The American College of Pediatricians again congratulates the FDA and others for their strong stand in continuing to prohibit the over-the-counter sale of drugs commonly referred to as “Emergency Contraception” (EC). We especially applaud this stand with respect to unguided adolescent access to these potent abortion pharmaceuticals.

The key word here is “abortion.” Please make no mistake, the medications known as “Emergency Contraception” have the ability to produce an abortion. This fact is being hidden in press releases from other organizations and especially in the information provided to young people and their families. Even the author of the recent American Academy of Pediatrics statement on “Emergency Contraception,” Margaret Blythe, MD, FAAP, was quoted in the September 2005, AAP News as follows. “But for some health care providers as well as families and patients, the use of emergency contraception and its potential impact on the endometrium and thus the potential interference of the fertilized egg implanting into the uterine wall represents a moral and ethical concern.” Why is this message not clearly expressed in statements to the public and patients?

It is also disturbing that many endorsing organizations in this country are satisfied, based on very few studies, that EC does not change the rates of sexual activity or increase frequency of unprotected sex among adolescents. Not working to decrease sexual activity makes these organizations complicit in the continuing and expanding problem of sexually transmitted infections among our adolescent population. This is despite the recent decrease, occasioned by abstinence education programs, in sexual activity.

Finally, a published fact sheet for parents and adolescents advises that emergency contraception should not be used “if you are pregnant.” How will the adolescent know that without first seeing a physician for pregnancy testing? That same fact sheet also implies that children using the “contraceptive shot” for pregnancy prevention may also simultaneously use “Emergency Contraception.” We must ask why and we must also ask what studies have been done to document the safety to the child of this combination.

No organization dedicated to the health and well-being of children can be supportive of a drug which takes the life of a newly conceived child, or which by its advised use, harms both that child and his/her mother. It is for these reasons that the American College of Pediatricians strongly opposes recent misguided attempts to put these potent pharmaceuticals into immature and unguided hands.