Pill Causes Friction
An emergency contraceptive pill called ellaOne is creating intense debate between physicians and Pro-Life people within the United States. In its announcement to the press, back on May 29, 2009, representatives of HRA Pharma, a pharmaceutical company in Europe said, "It’s next generation emergency contraception."
Emergency contraceptives such as the morning after pill or Plan B are taken within a few days of contraception failure or unprotected sex. But ellaOne can be taken as long as five days after sex, giving women a much larger window of time in which they can prevent an unwanted pregnancy.
Still, the president of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Dr. Donna Harrison, is adamant that pregnancy begins the minute an egg is fertilized. According to Harrison, this means that using ellaOne five days after sex is really just a form of abortion. "To label this as emergency contraception when it’s clearly an abortive action is dishonest," said Harrison.
Meantime, the emergency pill was authorized to be marketed within the European Union and has been available to EU consumers since September 2009. HRA Pharma insists it hasn't any hidden agenda in making ellaOne available as a contraceptive. Erin Garner, CEO of HRA Pharma had this to say, "Our company is committed to advancing the discovery and development of new medicines tackling unmet needs in the field of reproductive health. EllaOne is the first licensed product to have been specifically designed and developed for use as an oral emergency contraceptive."
According to the latest research published in the medical journal Lancet, ellaOne is 50% more effective than Plan B. But while the pill may prevent new life, it has breathed the very same into the old debate regarding the time that pregnancy actually begins. When asked their opinions of ellaOne, some students expressed confusion. A second-year childhood education student, Lauren Guban was puzzled, "I actually don’t get how it works. On commercials it says it does not terminate pregnancy if you are pregnant, so what does it do then?"
Clinical instructor in obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern Medical School, Dr. Lauren Streicher says that people won't want to use emergency contraceptives if they think these drugs cause abortion. According to Streicher, "With emergency contraception, the goal is to stop a pregnancy."
As the debate rages on, HRA Pharma's New York City headquarters has not yet announced when ellaOne would be launched within the United States. Another type of emergency contraception produced by HRA Pharma, called Norvelo, is already available in the States.