Morning After Pill - The Ethical Issues

The morning after pill has been widely promoted as a contraceptive pill, to be more precise, as an emergency contraceptive pill. The pill has to be taken within short interval of unprotected sexual intercourse to prevent unwanted pregnancy.

Critics have raised serious doubts about its mechanism of action. They believe that the action of the morning after pill is abortifacient and not contraceptive. However, people who are pro- morning after pill say that, the pill has an anti- implantation effect (preventing the implantation of the fertilized egg, also called embryo to the wall of the uterus). Thus, the effect is "interception", which is distinct from abortion.

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As per a study conducted by American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), emergency contraception can prevent at least 1.5 million out of the 3 million unwanted pregnancies that occur in the United States each year. However, Medical professionals concerned with ethical issues believe that, this controversial pill does not prevent pregnancy every time and at least in some cases, it does kill a developing embryo. And, that makes the pill an abortifacient.

Morning After Pill - The Ethical Issues

To decide whether morning after pill is an abortifacient or a contraceptive, it becomes important to understand the definition of pregnancy.

The definition of pregnancy as defined by ACOG is "successful implantation of a fertilized egg". However, embryologists believe that pregnancy begins with fertilization and not implantation as claimed. This is so because an embryo has all the genetic information required for it to become a complete human being.

Scientifically, the human zygote formed after fertilization of egg is an actual human being and not "something", that can possibly develop into a human being. It has the ability to grow further and develop its capacities to full potential.

As per FDA, the emergency contraceptive pills are supposed to work by preventing or delaying ovulation. However, if the egg has been fertilized before or despite the effect of the pill, then the action of the morning after pill is believed to be abortifacient.

The pill creates a hostile environment for the embryo in the uterus and it is unable to attach to the uterine lining. This leads to its ultimate death and expulsion from the body.

Critics believe that the anti implantation action of the morning after pill is nothing more than a "chemically induced abortion". It is said that people are being deceived by redefining pregnancy as implantation of the embryo.

Those in favor of the pill argue that the action of the pill cannot be abortifacient because if the pregnancy is already established then the pill doesn't have any effect.

Women should have enough knowledge to make an informed decision regarding the use of morning after pills.

Morning After Pill - The Ethical Issues

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A Review of the Birth Control Patch

The birth control patch is becoming increasingly more popular with many women.

The birth control patch is a thin square patch that is adhered to the skin, it's very much resembles a common, everyday Band-Aid. It is adhered to the skin for one week and then discarded and replaced with a new one. Also, the birth control patch should be placed on another part of your skin, and not where it was before. This is done for a period of three weeks. The patch is not used on the fourth week as the woman has her period.

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The birth control patch is very similar to birth control pills in that it contains hormones. The hormones are absorbed through the skin's epidermis and is absorbed into the blood stream. The purpose of the hormones is to regulate the reproductive system so that ovulation doesn't occur.

A Review of the Birth Control Patch

There are valid concerns about the birth control patch coming off while bathing or taking a swim. The patch is actually designed to be worn full-time even during activities where the body is wet or exerted. The manufacturers most certainly have taken this into account.

If the patch should ever happen to fall off then referred to the instructions that came with the medication. It will guide you and want the best course is to take, but understand that while it is off you are not under birth control.

The birth control patch is not a method of treating or preventing sexually transmitted diseases. It has one function and that is to stop pregnancy from happening. Abstinence and condoms are the only ways to effectively avoid STDs.

You should be aware that there are usually side effects involved in with contraception that transmits hormones. The birth control patch is no exception. A few of the side effects that can be expected may include weight gain, spotting in between periods, headaches and nausea. The birth control patch can also cause a small rash where it is placed on the skin. It really shouldn't be that big a deal other than perhaps being a little bit itchy. If you should experience and the side effects that concern you, then by all means consult your doctor immediately.

The birth control patch is a proven safe form of contraceptive, yet it isn't for everyone. When you do decide to talk to your doctor about birth control ask him or her what their opinion is on the birth control patch. Your doctor will be able to tell you, based on information that you give him what your best options are.

A Review of the Birth Control Patch

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Know the Risks Associated With the Morning After Pill

The morning after pills are used by women who want to avoid unwanted pregnancy. It is also beneficial for couples who like to indulge in unprotected sex and do not want to have children. It is very important for you to be aware of the risk factors associated with the morning after pills. Let's take a brief overview of the risk factors involved with the use of morning after pills.

The most common morning after pill risks include side effects such as abdominal pain, headache, dizziness, vaginal spotting of blood, breast tenderness, nausea, and tiredness. After consuming this pill, you may also have irregular periods. Your menstrual period may arrive sooner or later than the expected date. Also, menstrual bleeding after morning after pill can be heavier and lighter than normal. However, these are normal effects and you needn't to worry about them

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Women who suffer from diabetes and pelvic inflammatory disease and can face certain complications while taking morning after pills. If you are suffering from diabetes, it is recommended to monitor your blood sugar level and consult a proper physician before taking morning after pills. Women with pelvic inflammatory disease should also take morning after pill only under the careful guidance of a physician.

Know the Risks Associated With the Morning After Pill

Another major risk involved with the consumption of contraceptive pills is they increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy is the one that occurs anywhere outside the uterus and has chances of not getting noticed on time. This type of unnoticed pregnancy can prove to be very risky, as a small delay in its diagnosis can cause many complications and can even prove fatal.

The other major risk of the pill is in its consumption after pregnancy, as it can cause complications. Hence, it is recommended that you consume a morning after pill only after undergoing a pregnancy test.

There's a false belief among many people that morning after pill will protect them form HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted diseases (STD). You need to know that this is not true, as these pills don't provide any protection from any type of STD.

Thus, although morning after pills can be very effective, they also have certain risk factors involved. However, these risk factors are negligible if you take this pill under the guidance and observation of a qualified physician.

Know the Risks Associated With the Morning After Pill

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Study Shows Birth Control Pills May Have Long Term Effects

A study published in January, 2006 in the Journal of Sexual Medicine claims that women who use birth control pills may suffer from long term side effects. Possible side effects include decreased desire and arousal, decreased lubrication, and increased sex-related pain.

Researchers studied a group of 124 women, all of whom had previously suffered from some degree of sexual dysfunction. 69 of the women continued using the pill, 39 were discontinued users, and 23 had never used it.

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The research team analysed blood samples taken from women who had discontinued use of the pill six months earlier, and found that they had significantly less available testosterone. This would make them more prone to suffer from side effects such as decreased sexual desire and less frequent arousal.

Study Shows Birth Control Pills May Have Long Term Effects

Increased globulin levels means less testosterone

According to study leader Dr. Claudia Panzer of Boston University, the women who were currently taking the pill had as much as four times the level of testosterone-binding globulin in their blood as those not taking the pill. This is what reduces the amount of testosterone the body has at its disposal.

But the study found that after six months of not taking the pill, globulin levels were still roughly twice as high in those who had taken the pill, compared to those who had not. And eleven women who were tested after more than 11 months still reported having almost twice the globulin level as the group that had not taken the pill.

These observations were surprising, the authors said, "as the effect of oral contraceptives on sex hormone-binding globulin levels should have subsided." The findings are even more interesting, the study noted, because these women also received transdermal testosterone therapy, which should have decreased sex hormone-binding globulin levels.

All patients were offered a transdermal testosterone gel to improve their sexual function, but even with this therapy globulin levels were much higher than in those who had not taken the pill.

The report noted that earlier research has shown that increases in sex hormone-binding globulin levels from using birth control pills result in a 40% to 60% decrease in free testosterone levels.

Long term impact

The researchers speculated that the synthetic estrogens in oral contraceptives may trigger more permanent changes in the way the genes function, leading to much longer lasting reductions in the amounts of testosterone available to the body.

So a therapy meant to enhance sexual experience may actually make it less enjoyable for many women.

The researchers were unwilling to draw hard and fast conclusions, saying only that more research is needed. The most important question left hanging is "whether sex hormone-binding globulin changes induced by oral contraceptives may or may not be completely reversible after discontinuation of oral contraceptive use and whether this leads to long-term sexual, metabolic, and mental health changes in women."

At a bare minimum, doctors should make women more aware of these possible side effects, and they should be more diligent about watching for them. They should also be less eager to opt for the easy answer, and be more open to less invasive methods of birth control such as condoms.

Study Shows Birth Control Pills May Have Long Term Effects

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