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November 21, 2002 - Image 16

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-11-21

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8B - The Michigan Daily - Weekend Magazine - Thursday, November 21, 2002





The Michigan Daily - Weekend Maga ine - Thursd

Imost 90 years after Mar
Sanger was arrested for c
birth control literature tc
York's indigent populatic
ceptives and sex preventi
ods have become commo
many areas of the counti
ly on college campuses.

The controversy, which once debated the tenets of condom distribu- in an
tion, has grown in the last 10 years to now include the prescription of wom
emergency contraception or pregnancy prevention methods used after less i
unprotected sex. "Ic
According to a 1999 study done by Eastern Michigan University LSA;
Prof. Susan McCarthy, out of 358 student health centers at various and t
colleges and universities across the country, 52.2 percent offered So
some form of emergency contraception. McCarthy said she feels the it stil
number of unintended pregnancies will drop if more women take "I'
advantage of ECP's. Barn
"Of the estimated 3 million unintended pregnancies that occur annu- Ye
ally in the United States, about half are among women who were not John
using any contraception method at all and half among women who North
were using contraception inconsistently or incorrectly," McCarthy contr
wrote in her study. unpro
One of the more prominent types of emergency contraception has He sa
been the "morning-after" pill, which was first approved by the Food a 72-
and Drug Administration in 1997. University Health Services current- "It
ly offers a Progesterone-based "morning-
after" pill, otherwise known as Plan B. A
woman can take the pill within 72 hours
after possible unprotected sex, and ovula-
tion will be inhibited.
Rare side effects can include menstru-
al changes, abdominal pain, nausea and
possible fatigue. According to a study
done by UHS, the drug was effective on
days 10 through 18 of the menstrual
cycle for 97 percent of participants, and1
100 percent effective on all other days.
UHS Director Robert Winfield said he
feels there is a national movement push-
ing to encourage the "morning-after"
"Some gynecology and health care
providers are encouraging women who
are using condoms and diaphragms and
less reliable types of contraceptives to
have the 'morning-after' pill available at
home or in their medicine cabinet,"
Winfield said, adding that the drug has.
very low side effects.4r'
UHS currently offers Plan B by pre-
scription, but Winfield said doctors
have enormous leeway as to how it can
be distributed.
"We have the flexibility to prescribe it
just when you need it, or in anticipation Dr. Robert Winfleld, director of UHS.
that you might need it, he said.
Winfield said UHS' Medical Staff Executive Committee is current- offer
ly working on a formal policy regarding the distribution of the pill. He direc
said when this policy is finalized, most likely in January, women giveb
should have an even easier time receiving a prescription for Plan B. In!
Winfield said in order for Plan B to be given over the counter, it it iss
would have to be given that status by the FDA. basis
But Winfield also said there are some negative factors in regard to ' 1
Plan B. There is up to a 15 percent failure rate and the pill does not pre- Lam
vent sexually transmitted diseases. TI
But LSA junior Deborah Morris said contraceptives such as con- FDA
doms are not perfect either in preventing pregnancies, considering the with
fact they can break or not be used properly in Jar
"(Plan B) protects against uncontrolled, unplanned pregnancies," she "I
said. "That's the kind of thing college students wouldn't want to hap- andt
pen (to them) s sArbd
But some students said they would only like to see Plan B given out answi

emergency situation. They sai
en who anticipate having sex wi
n their sexual lives.
don't think it should be somethin
senior Laura Goodman said. "P
hat would undermine having resp
me students are absolutely agair
1 is bad as having an abortion.
m never going to think it's OK to
ett said. "In my opinion, once th
t, not all university health centers
Alexander, acting director c
twestern University, said Lo/Ov
raception, is only offered to a wi
otected sex. It will not be given
aid the treatment includes eight I
hour period, but SHS is open 24
t's not exactly a morning after,
make tt
health se
ify the
A mo
and do ri
tion, they
after the
od, and tt
France i
use. Who
office in
of the dr
delays a
offer F
centers d
to handl
if they ta
which ai
PATRICK JONES/Daily tion were
service t
But b
alternatives for pregnant women, su
tion toward other resources if a wo
her baby up for adoption.
general, students supported the dis
something which should be used a
The best thing to do would to p
ren Atkins said. "I think it's more
he "morning-after pill" and mit
in 1998 and 2000, respectively
iPresident Bush in office and a F
nuary, these regulations could b
t would only pass into law if be
the president signs it," outgoing
)r) said, adding that the FDA
aers to Congress.


UHS currently offers the morning-after pill, also known as Plan B, by prescription.

Amidst controversy, the University Health Service will soon be deter-
mining its policy for distributing the morning-after pill.
By Jeremy Berkowitz

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