Medical experts have developed a new morning after pill that claims to be better than any other emergency contraceptive pill. It is called ellaOne. The attraction: it works for 5 days! You can take the pill for up to five days after unprotected sex and it will work as well as if you took it the morning after. Its leading competitor, Plan B, only works for up to 3 days after unprotected sex. This could be the answer to many unwanted pregnancies.
However, as expected, it raises the ongoing abortion debate. This new pill, ellaOne, delays ovulation and therefore inhibits conception. It does so by preventing the progesterone hormone, a hormone that causes females to ovulate, from being released in the female body. Conversely, those who are on the pro-life side of the debate claim that it is an abortion pill. They believe that the pill does not prevent this hormone from being released. Rather, the fact that it works for five days leads them to believe that it stops the fertilized egg from being implanted in the female’s uterus; therefore killing the fertilized egg. This being the case, then they consider it an abortion. If the pill was used the morning after, fertilization may not have taken place. But, by the fifth day fertilization has taken place. Nevertheless, some assert that the pill does both: it delays ovulation and prevents the fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. So the question is: how does it really work?
This debate has not stopped the pill from being released. Medical experts find that there are more benefits to it than drawbacks. No major side effects of the pill on women’s health have been found. If you take the EllaOne Pill within this five day window, there is only a 1.8% chance of you becoming pregnant. Whereas, with Plan B you have a 2.6% chance of becoming pregnant.
EllaOne is not yet available in the US. There was a recent assembly in the US where the Federal advisory panel of medical experts met to discuss the potential sale of ellaOne in the US. These 11 experts unanimously voted in approval of the emergency contraceptive pill. Now, the FDA will take this vote into consideration as they decide whether or not to allow the sale of ellaOne in the US. If the FDA approves the pill, it will be available in the US by prescription only; not over the counter. However, you will need to check with your health insurance provider to see if this contraceptive pill is covered by your insurance plan. This final decision by the FDA could take up to several months. EllaOne is currently sold in France (where it originated) and Great Britain.