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Perils of the cheap online morning-after pill


THE British Pregnancy Advisory Service is complaining that high street outlets are ‘overcharging for the morning-after pill after an online pharmacist started selling it for just £3’. Clare Murphy of BPAS maintained: ‘We believe emergency contraception belongs on the shelf of the pharmacy, not hidden away at the back, accessible only after a consultation.’

Presumably this rules out the taking of women’s medical histories to guard against possible risks, as well as checks on how often this ‘medicine’ is being taken, and age checks on possibly under-age girls that might lead to the detection of sexual abuse. Far from reducing the ‘need’ for abortions, the morning-after pill increases the incidence of risky behaviour and certainly does not reduce the income of abortion provider BPAS. 

In advance of the Christmas season, the online retailer Dr Fox is selling emergency contraceptive pills for £3, so that women can have them ready at home if they need them. In other words, rather than avoiding unwanted sexual encounters, women are being encouraged to prepare for them by stocking up in advance.

The progestogen-based emergency contraceptives Levonelle and ellaOne, which can cost up to £26, are on offer to 18- to 54-year-olds who complete a ‘short, confidential online assessment’. The age check sounds very easy to get round. 

The morning-after pill would be much safer if it were left on the shelf rather than advertised as safe enough – and cheap enough – for children to take like sweets. That is where the ‘moral outrage’ might be directed rather than, as Ms Murphy suggests, at so-called ‘crusaders’ who rightly question the efficacy, safety and wisdom of the MAP. 

Ms Murphy’s own claim to the moral high ground is as dubious as her claim that anything other than the cheap and easy availability of the morning-after pill punishes women or turns them into victims.

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Ann Farmer
Ann Farmer
Ann Farmer is the author of By Their Fruits: Eugenics, Population Control, and the Abortion Movement (Catholic University of America, 2008).

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