Monday, 22 October 2012

Help required

EllaOne, the morning after pill which works for up to 5 days after (er...the 5 day after pill?), is now available from Co-op pharmacies without a prescription, the Telegraph reports. I'm feeling a bit out of the loop because I didn't know anything about this and apparently it's been around for a while now. I did a little googling and found that the Mail reported on it a couple of years ago.

The article in the Mail says that the manufacturers state that EllaOne can 'help stop an accident from becoming something more life-changing'. This is the first thing I would like explaining: how is having sex is an accident? I know that's not what they mean. It seems our brains are completely broken in this pleasure-seeking society. For one thing, accidents should make you stop and think, and then see how you can stop them from happening again, whether that means looking before you cross the road, fitting a stair gate or padding the corner of the cupboard where you always bang your head (maybe that's just me).
The Telegraph says that 250,000 women use emergency contraception every year. In 2011 there were around 190,000 abortions which is very slightly down on 2010. The morning after pill became available over the counter in 2001 since which time there has been a general upward trend in the number of abortions, which peaked in 2007 and seems to have remained stable for the last few years (although the number of abortions for non-residents is falling off, so actually the number of abortions for residents is increasing). However, considering that the goverment strategy of throwing contraceptives around is supposedly for the purpose of reducing abortion one has to ask what is going on: yes, the number of abortions has decreased slightly in women under 20, but this is more than compensated for by the increase among those in their 20s and 30s. AND 250,000 women take the morning after pill every year. It is clear then that increasing the availability of the morning after pill is not really affecting the number of abortions carried out.

Here are some reasons why this might be:
(1) It doesn't work. However, we should probably discount this one as it is demonstrated to be effective.
(2) The women who took the morning after pill weren't pregnant anyway. We have no way of knowing this.
(3) People have stopped using other forms of contraception. Difficult to say for sure without other prescribing data but would explain why chlamydia rates are rapidly increasing.
(4) Increased promiscuity - as postulated beforehand, and likewise explains STD rates.

 As STD rates are increasing so fast, I have to say that, sadly, (4) seems the most likely, which is reinforced by the general sexualisation of society which surely influences sexual behaviour. It would be interesting to see a breakdown by age of women taking the morning after pill.

As a final note 255,000 women died in 2010 in the UK. That means that EVERY YEAR APPROXIMATELY THE SAME NUMBER OF WOMEN TAKE THE MORNING AFTER PILL AS DIE! I grant you that there may be women who take the morning after pill more than once, and those who died are definitely exclusive, but still...doesn't anyone else find this a bit worrying?

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