What you need to know about the morning after pill

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ADA, OK -- The morning after pill, also known as Plan B, is now available over the counter, and to a younger age group than ever before.

"I just don't see it as giving our girls the right idea of values and ethics," said one ECU student.

"I think it's a good thing for women to have. I think its beneficial and I think that women should have access to it and it should be easy for them to get when they need it," said another ECU student.

But what exactly does the pill do?

Gynecologist, John Siegle, says it's an emergency contraceptive used to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex, and it does just that.
He says there are some misconceptions about the pill.

"They confuse it with mifepristone, which is the abortion pill, which is also approved by the food and drug administration for emergency contraception," said Siegle. "But that's the biggest misconception people have."

Siegle says Plan B does not terminate pregnancy. It's purpose is to prevent pregnancy from happening.

"The morning after pill is a derivation of low dose birth control pills. Mifepristone is an anti-hormonal agent that actually causes miscarriage," Seigle said.

According to Siegle, Plan B blocks fertilization by delaying or preventing a woman from ovulating, or releasing an egg.

Plan B can also prevent implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus.
But there's a time limit for it's effectiveness up to 5 days.

"The effectiveness of the emergency contraception becomes less the further from the sexual contact there is," Siegle said.

The pill is available in most pharmacies and can now be bought without a prescription by women 15 and older.

Even though no prior consultation with a doctor is needed in order to get the pill, executive director of House of Hope, Rachel Miller, says a woman should still consult with another person if she's considering taking the pill.

"I just recommend that someone does know," said Miller. "I think it's a vulnerable place for girls to be. They're scared cause they're not wanting to be pregnant."

House of Hope is a pregnancy center in Ada that offers free services and counseling to women of all ages who are dealing with unplanned pregnancies.

Miller says she's helped girls as young as 12 with pregnancy related issues, which can be a very difficult to deal with on their own.

"A lot of times just having someone outside the situation, the father would be inside the situation, but having another adult outside the situation come in and kind of speak some reason into your life that you're not really focused on because you're focused on the emotion and fear that comes with an unplanned pregnancy," Miller said.

Although Siegle says there are no negative effects if a woman takes the pill multiple times, he recommends that women not use the pill regularly, and consider getting prescribed to a regular form of birth control.

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