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It Might Be Safe to Use Morning After Pill in Nonemergencies

Plan A: The Morning After Pill May Be Safe For Nonemergency Use

From the pill to nonhormonal birth control, there are various ways for women having regular sex to prevent pregnancy. But what about a single woman who doesn't want to commit to contraception if she's not having sex often? There's always the condom, which will protect against STDs, but she might want to use the morning after pill too to decrease her risk of pregnancy — women who take the backup pill have a five percent chance of getting pregnancy, compared to a 16 percent chance among women who rely on condoms.

A new report in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology found that it could be safe to use emergency contraception as a planned birth control method, as some women already do in Africa and Asia. Its ovulation-stopping hormone Levonorgestrel is already included in traditional birth control pills, and it works when taken right before having sex as well.

It's been a political struggle to get the FDA to sell the morning after pill over the counter, so there would have to be a major rebranding of the medication often mistaken for the abortion pill. And the study concedes that there are some side effects like breakthrough bleeding, that it's not as effective as the regular pill, and that more research must be done on safety. But would you welcome an endorsement to use it as on-demand birth control?

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