Is There a Difference Between the “After-Sex” Pill and the “Morning-After” Pill?

The New York Times today reports that the FDA may be gearing up to approve a pill that can be taken “after sex” to prevent pregnancy. Ella, the new pill’s name (reassuring, because it might be one of your girlfriends, I guess?) can be taken up to five days after unprotected sex.

According to the Times, the main difference between ella and Plan B — which also works for up to five days — is that while Plan B gets less effective the longer you wait to take it, Ella is just as effective on Day 5 as it is on Day 1.

And that is fucking awesome, friends. Maybe you live paycheck to paycheck, and day one happens to be the day after you paid all your bills. Or maybe you had the misfortune of fucking in a state that doesn’t like women to fuck, and so punishes those who do by either not giving them prescriptions for contraception or not filling existing prescriptions, so you have to travel far and wide to get yourself some hormones. Or maybe you’re just busy. Doesn’t really matter, does it? The important thing is that the pharmaceutical companies, for all their other problems, aren’t dissuaded by anti-choice nonsense enough to stop manufacturing new products that will help prevent unintended pregnancy.

And speaking of anti-choice nonsense, as usual, forced pregnancy advocates used the unveiling of ella as an excuse to make shit up:

Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America, a conservative group, called ella an unsafe abortion pill that men might slip to unsuspecting women. “With ella, women will be enticed to buy a poorly tested abortion pill in the guise of a morning-after pill,” she said.

This statement was made despite the fact that the question of whether ella is an abortifacient was directly addressed, and the answer (surprise!) is no.

Dr. David Archer, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Eastern Virginia Medical School who spoke on behalf of ella’s maker, said that ella was not an abortion pill. “I just don’t think there is any element here that would allow me to say that this has an abortifacient activity,” Dr. Archer said.

Aaaaanyway, though, back to my original point. I have to say that I like the term “after-sex,” which is the term used by the Times, if only because it doesn’t exclude sex that doesn’t happen at night. Maybe you need an “afternoon-after” pill, or an “evening-after.” Mistakes can happen just as easily in the light of day, you know. Also, “morning-after” is notoriously misleading, since it implies that it only works if literally taken the next morning.

So yay for more options, and maybe next time someone will just walk up to those Concerned Women and give them something to really be concerned about…like a slap.

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