"Morning After" Pill Usage Up Following Increased Srutiny

PHILADELPHIA - The Bush administration's opposition to emergency contraception seems to be doing wonders for awareness and use of the method.

Health activists have promoted the so-called morning-after pill for 15 years as a way to reduce unplanned pregnancies and the need for abortions.

But only now is it catching on, partly because of media coverage of the Bush administration's efforts to thwart easier access to it.

"It has generated a ton of publicity, and that almost surely has a consequence of increasing awareness," said Princeton University economist James Trussell, a proponent of emergency contraception.

Annual prescriptions for Barr Laboratories' brand, Plan B, have doubled to 1.6 million during the two years that Food and Drug Administration leaders have refused to approve nonprescription sales of the product.

FDA advisers and staff, as well as major medical organizations, have endorsed over-the-counter sales.

Barr spokeswoman Carol Cox said, "We've had more interest from reporters on Plan B than anything else we do."

Emergency contraception — a two-dose regimen that contains the same hormones as regular birth-control pills — reduces the chance of pregnancy by from 75 percent to 89 percent, but only if started within 72 hours of unprotected sex.

The constraint stymies many women who must find a doctor, get a prescription, and have it filled.

The method has become embroiled in the politics of abortion because, while it usually prevents ovulation or fertilization, it may also work after conception, by preventing a fertilized egg from implanting.

I guess this means maybe George should just keep his mouth shut on the things he thinks the government should tell us we shouldn't do.