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Free Plan B Faces Controversy

Plan B is the name tagged to the new emergency contraceptive pill (ECP) that was approved by the FDA.// This approval was sanctioned in 1999.ECP also known as 'morning-after-pill' is an oral contraceptive to be taken immediately after intercourse to avoid an unwanted pregnancy.

It consists of pills containing levonorgestrel or also called progesterone only pills. Other pills with a combination of oetrogen and progesterone as well have been approved by the FDA. They act by preventing ovulation or delaying transport of sperms, and by inhibiting implantation.

This summer the FDA sanctioned the sale of Plan B across the counter as a contraceptive measure for women who are 18 or older. This has raised an uproar from many quarters. Since Plan B ECP contains a very high percentage of hormones, its safety has been questioned. It is to be taken, only after an incidence of unprotected sex, sexual assault or following contraceptive failure.

Planned Parenthood Clinics across the U.S buys ECP from Barr Laboratories, the manufacturer of Plan B, at preferentially discounted rates. Planned Parenthood then distributes these ECP for free in an effort to educate the public. This has made many organizations aghast, as they feel that this may trigger more risky sexual behavior, involving multiple partners, increased instances of teenage sex, and sexually transmitted diseases.

Concerned Women for America, Iowa Right to Life, and the Iowa Christian Alliance asked members to acquire free doses of Plan B and then destroy it. A small percentage of such free doses were reportedly destroyed in Iowa. Plan B packages cost about $35-$45 per dose.


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