by Steven Ertelt
September 15, 2006
London, England (LifeNews.com) — New reports are backing up the contentions pro-life groups have been making for months saying that the morning after pill will fail to reduce both abortion and teen pregnancy rates even if it’s made available for sales over the counter. New British figures back up those from Scotland showing it’s not the case.
Figures show abortion rates in England have risen from 11 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 in 1984 to 17.8 per 1,000 in 2004.
In the past five years since the morning-after pill was made available over-the-counter, hundreds of thousands of women have used it but the number of British abortions has also risen steadily from 186,300 in 2001 to 194,400 last year.
Professor Anna Glasier, director of the Lothian Primary Care NHS Trust in Edinburgh, wrote an article in the British Medical Journal showing that, while the morning after pill had been called a solution for both abortion and teen pregnancies, it failed to deliver.
“Despite the clear increase in the use of emergency contraception, abortion rates have not fallen in the UK," she wrote.
Glasier wrote that efforts concentrating on getting teens to use contraception before sex rather than relying on the morning after pill afterwards would produce better results.
Still, she said that the Plan B drugs were worth having because they would "prevent pregnancy in some women some of the time."
Toni Belfield, director of information at fpa (formerly the Family Planning Association), admitted to the London Telegraph newspaper that the morning after pill was never intended to be a "panacea for abortion."
Following the news that the morning after pill has not worked as intended, the British Christian Medical Fellowship criticized the English government for not concentrating more on abstinence education.
Paul Saunders, CMF’s general secretary said the news reflected the “bankruptcy” of the government’s sexual health strategy.
Saunders argued that what was really needed was a policy aimed at behavior change and while he commended Prof Glasier’s research, he said that it did not go far enough in its recommendations, stressing that “abstinence and being mutually faithful are far more effective."
The best way to reduce the number of abortions in the country, he said, was to “encourage young people to abstain from sexual intercourse."
“The reluctance of the government to give the abstinence message is undermining their attempts to reduce sexual health diseases and unplanned pregnancies," he added.
Meanwhile, Anthony Ozimic of the pro-life Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said "Evidence continues to grow that state-sponsored promotion of birth control is counter-productive in reducing abortions among teenagers."
“The government’s strategy of promoting the morning-after pill is proving to be a disaster, especially for young people and above all for the embryonic unborn children who may be aborted by the pill," he said
“Promoting morning-after pills may also encourage risky sexual behavior and appears to be fueling the explosion in sexually transmitted infections among young people," Ozimic concluded.