British Study Shows Morning After Pills Don’t Reduce Abortion Rate in U.K.

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 6, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

British Study Shows Morning After Pills Don’t Reduce Abortion Rate in U.K.

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 6, 2004

London, England ( — Abortion advocates claimed for years that sales of the so-called morning-after pill would help reduce the number of abortions. However, a new British study shows that the drug, which can cause an abortion itself, has not lowered the number of surgical abortions.

Researchers at Dundee, Edinburgh and Oxford Universities found giving women advanced supplies of the morning after pill did not reduce the abortion rate among that group of women.

"Enthusiasm for distributing advanced supplies of emergency contraception may be misplaced as a strategy to reduce unintended pregnancy in the UK," explains Sally Wyke, of Dundee University and director of the Scottish School of Primary Care.

Though having the drugs did not reduce abortions, Wyke claims that could happen if more women have the pills.

"More radical solutions to getting it to the women who need and want it will have to be found," she said.

The research showed that abortion rates were lower only among women already aggressively using contraception.

Some 18,000 women between 16 and 29 participated in the study and received the morning-after drugs. Approximately 45 percent of the women used the sometimes-abortifacient and more than 4,500 gave their supply of the drugs to a friend during the course of the 28-month study.

Researchers also claim some women are too embarrassed to ask for the morning-after pills on their own.

At a seminar where the results of the study were released, Wyke said, "If advance supply is to be successful in reducing the abortion rate, we must address these concerns and develop imaginative ways to encourage women most at risk to take supplies home."

In the United States, the maker of the morning-after pill is hoping to be able to sell them over the counter without a physician’s prescription.

In May, the FDA denied Barr Laboratories’ request because the pharmaceutical company failed to provide enough data about the impact of the drug on teens.

Barr’s main basis for approval was a study of 585 people who had used the drug. But, the FDA pointed out that only 29 of the subjects were 14-16 years old.

Barr is coming back with a revised proposal that would allow anyone over 16 years of age to buy the drug without first seeing a doctor.