Local News

Morning-After Pill May Soon Be Found On Store Shelves

Posted December 5, 2000 6:00 a.m. EST

— TheAmerican Medical Association(AMA) approved selling the birth control pill at your local drug store. It is now up to theFood and Drug Administration(FDA) to make that happen. However, the chance of the morning-after pill showing up on store shelves is causing some emotional reaction.

College students say it is hard to obtain the morning-after pill.

"Right now, it's really hard to get. I've had conversations with girls that want to get it and they can't because doctors won't let them get it," says college student Tracy Spencer.

The AMA is asking the FDA to make the pill available over the counter. Planned Parenthood supports the idea.

"We see a lot of women coming into the clinic all of the time in need of it," says Dana Blackman ofPlanned Parenthood. "The emergency contraception pill is estimated to prevent approximately 1.7 million unintended pregnancies each year and estimated to reduce the number of abortions per year by 800,000."

The Catholic Church worries more young women will use it.

"It will add to, I think, the overall moral breakdown in our society," says Msg. Gerald Lewis of the N.C. Catholic Diocese. "We are going to say people are going to do what they want to, and they won't be responsible for their actions because they can control the results even the day after, and so easily by walking into the drug store and buying this pill as easily as you would cough drops."

While many young people are not opposed to the pill itself, they are concerned about it being sold over the counter.

"I think it's a good idea for people that need it, but I'm sort of nervous that they might use it as a form of birth control and rely on that," Spencer says.

"I don't think that it's something you can take too lightly, because it's important," says college student Lindy Pugh.

Taken within three days of having sex, the morning after pill prevents ovulation. If ovulation has already occurred, the pill blocks implantation of a fertilized egg.

The AMA's Council suggests women might not be able to get the pills in time to prevent a pregnancy unless they are made available over the counter.