Contraception - Chemical Methods / Hormonal Contraception / Emergency / Morning After Pill

EC/MAP Made Easy

EC (ECP – Emergency Contraception Pill) is also referred to as The Morning After Pill (MAP).

The Drug. Some Estrogen / Progesterone combinations of ECP contain very high dosages of daily oral contraceptive (OC) pills (depending on the manufacturer). EC is similar in chemical content to the Pill, the Shot, and the Patch.

It is a very high dosage of hormones (may be 40-50 times stronger than a daily dosage of The Pill) taken within 72 hours after unprotected sexual activity.  The earlier EC is taken after the sexual encounter, the "better the chances" it will prevent pregnancy, or possibly cause an embryo to be aborted.

When they were first introduced years ago, OCs had much higher dosages than they presently contain. However, the higher estrogen levels caused serious health problems for women; so the levels of estrogen were lowered significantly.

Now, in EC/MAP, the very high estrogen levels are being pushed as acceptable, sometimes without an initial medical exam or follow-up exams. Nothing has changed: high estrogen levels that caused serious health for women before, will likely cause serious health problems again.

Taking multiple birth control pills (OCs) can work as Emergency "Contraception", but not as well, and is very nausea producing, due to the high doses of estrogen.  It is an old method, before Preven (which also contains estrogen, and is nausea producing).

Preven (estrogen/progesterone combination) and Plan B (progestin only – levonorgestrel) are currently marketed as ECs.

Levonelle is the same product as Plan B in the United States, but made by Schering-Plough in U.K. as opposed to Barr Labs in U.S. (Postinor-2 in Australia.)

"Plan B" contains the progestin substance levonorgestrel .75 mg, one tablet to start the process, and one in 12 hours , for a total dose of 1.5 mg. More recent protocols suggest both tablets be taken at the same time.

Progesterone-only ECPs, such as Levonelle and Levonelle-2 [These brands both contain levonorgestrel], according to a study reported in the UK from WHO data [1/03, CMOs Update, UK Department of Health, World Health Organization], resulted in a 6% ectopic (tubal) pregnancy rate.  

The 6% ectopic pregnancy rate is three times higher than the "expected" ectopic pregnancy rate.

Manufacturers recommend that ECPs be taken within 72 hours after unprotected sexual activity. However, they are most effective if used within 24 hours of the sexual encounter; the effectiveness drops dramatically after 48 hours.

That is, the earlier EC is taken after the sexual encounter, the "better the chances" it will prevent pregnancy, or cause an embryo to be aborted.

EC/MAP is being promoted for young teens. This may likely encourage sexual predation.

ECPs do not in any way stop the transmission of STDs/STIs. That is, EC provides NO PROTECTION against sexually transmitted diseases.

There are 3 possible Mechanisms for EC/MAP:

prevent ovulation (which is the release of the unfertilized egg cell from the ovary) by preventing ovulation, there is no egg to be fertilized, and so pregnancy is avoided;

prevent fertilization;

or possibly prevent implantation of the new developing human blastocyst in the uterine endometrium (lining of the uterus).   

This last mechanism would be considered to cause an early abortion.

Mechanism of Action Details

(1) If the woman is not pregnant and is not near ovulation time, the EC is not needed. In this case, the high-dosage hormones have no effect on preventing conception.
[The high-dose estrogen may have long-term negative effects on the woman; more research must be done. It would be wise to avoid such potent hormone levels in light of the effects of DES (diethylstilbestrol), which led to cancer in some of the children of women who had used DES.]

(2) In a small percentage of cases, if the EC is taken at a precise moment just prior to the Luteal Surge that leads to ovulation, it is possible that the EC would prevent or delay ovulation.  The Luteal Surge would have to be stopped in time to stop ovulation – the release of the egg from the ovary. Without ovulation, no egg will be available. If the egg has not been released from the ovary, even if sperm are present, the egg cannot be fertilized and the woman would not conceive.  The sperm will then die. Thus in this very slim situation, conception/fertilization would actually be prevented by the EC/MAP.

(3) If the woman has sex, but the Luteal Surge has already occurred, and she has thus ovulated or will soon do so, the sperm will, within minutes, swim to the egg, and fertilization (conception) will occur. In this case – no matter when it is now taken – the EC will not prevent ovulation, or fertilization.  Thus, the woman has conceived – she is pregnant.  As the human "blastocyst", already about 100 cells in size, arrives in the uterus 7-10 days later, it is unable to implant in the lining of the uterus (endometrium). The woman then begins her "period" (menses), and her tiny human progeny is eliminated from her body (early abortion).  


Conception. According to an arbitrary and relatively new definition of "conception"  — that human life begins at implantation rather than at fertilization — any mechanism which would prevent implantation of the embryo in the uterus would not cause an abortion [the termination of an existing life].  However,  the traditional and still correct scientific definition of "conception" is identical to "fertilization" — the union of the sperm and the egg.  Thus, any attack

against this life from the moment the fertilized egg cell (zygote) is formed, should be considered an abortifacient act (an abortion).

Zygote. The zygote is the fertilized egg cell. This one cell does not last long; within about 10 hours, it will undergo the first of literally innumberable cell divisions for the remainder of that person's life. By the time the tiny developing "blastocyst" arrives in the uterus 7-10 days after fertilization, there are already about 100 cells present. It is no longer a "zygote" but a growing and developing embryo.


"The Best Kept Secret in America"
The Morning After Abortion Pill

“Wilks' list of [“little known medical risks regarding use of the morning after abortion pill”] underscores the fact that we are witnessing yet another population control experiment in which women are being treated with less respect than guinea pigs.  In this case, unlimited numbers of women are being exposed to the dangers of this abortifacient and there is not even a plan to measure complications and determine its safety…Meanwhile, effective, safe, and free natural family planning (NFP) methods based on periodic abstinence are mocked & dismissed because (a) pharmaceutical companies can't make money off them, and (b) NFP methods underscore the importance of marriage, communication, and respect for life.” [David C. Reardon, Ph.D., Elliot Inst.]

CWA has a link below to documents they have compiled regarding the morning after pill abortion controversy:

Wilks: “Why this pharmacy does not sell Postinor-2; the 'morning-after' pill (MAP)

1. Scientific studies have provided strong evidence indicating that for many women the 'morning-after' pill, (MAP), does not stop a pregnancy from occurring. Researchers have said that it acts in at least 2 ways to end a pregnancy:    a.   By damaging the lining of the womb so that implantation of the human embryo – the unseen patient – cannot occur. [1]   b. Research in mice has also indicated that if an embryo attaches to the womb, the body reabsorbs it, thereby ending the embryo’s life. [2] 

Because the MAP can act via these two methods, it must be classified as an abortifacient – a drug that can cause an abortion.[3] The fact that the MAP reduces the expected pregnancy rate by 87% supports the claim that it frequently acts to end the life of a human embryo. [4] 

Therefore, due to the danger to the health of the human embryo caused by the MAP, my Code of Professional Conduct, parts 1.1 and 1.2,  forbids me from selling this drug.[5]

2. The 'morning-after' pill is also very dangerous to a woman's health. Scientific reports have proved that:

* The 'morning-after' pill causes an increase in the incidence of ectopic pregnancies.[6]   A 1/03 "CMO's Update" from the UK Department of Health noted that with Levonelle, a progestogen-only emergency contraceptive, there were 12 reported cases of ectopic pregnancies of a total of 201 unintended pregnancies [Committee on Safety of Medicines (CSM)]. This is 6%, or three times the normal rate.  Sometimes, the affected Fallopian tube has to be surgically removed. As a result, these women have a greatly reduced possibility of a future pregnancy.

* The 'morning-after' pill can also have serious interactions with prescribed medications. The British Medical Journal has reported that the 'morning-after' pill can interfere with warfarin medications. [7] [8]

* Dr. Ellen Grant, writing in the Lancet (2001) has expressed the concern that ".5% of women have a genetic susceptibility to thrombo-embolic disease (blood clots)." When these women take the 'morning-after' pill – which is equal in strength to taking 50 regular birth control tablets – a blood clot might form. [9]

*  There is concern that the very high dose of hormone taken in the 'morning-after' pill might 'kick-start' cervical cancer if a woman is already infected with HPV.[10]

In summary, because of these [and other] dangerous medical consequences associated with the 'morning-after' pill and my professional duty-of care responsibilities, we do not sell Postinor-2. [John Wilks B.Pharm., MPS, MACPP Consultant Pharmacist,18Feb04]


[1] Ugocsai G, Rozsa M, Ugocsai P. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) changes of the endometrium in women taking high doses of levonorgestrel as emergency postcoital contraception. Contraception. 2002;66:433-437
[2] Shirley B, Bundren JC, McKinney S. Levonorgestrel as a postcoital contraceptive. Contraception. 1996:52(2):277-81
[3] Moore KL, Persaud TVN. The Developing Human: Clinically Orientated Embryology (6th ed. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Comp 1998)

[4] Wellbery C. Emergency Contraception. Arch Fam Med 2000; 9:642-64
[5] Policy – Code of Professional Conduct. Pharmaceutical Society of Australia. Endorsed by National Council 3/1998.
[6] Sheffer-Mimouni G, Pauzer D, Maslovitch S et al. Ectopic pregnancies following levonorgestrel contraception. Contraception. 2003;67:267-269
[7] Ellison J, Thomson AJ, Greer IA. Apparent interaction between warfarin and levonorgestrel used for emergency contraception. BMJ. 2000;321:1382
[8] Richards D. An Important drug interaction – an alternate mechanism. BMJ  Rapid responses. 22Dec00
[9] Grant E. Adverse reactions and emergency contraception. Lancet. 2001;357:1201
[10] Chen Y-H, Huang L-H, Chen T-M. Differential effects of progestins and estrogens on long control regions of human papillomavirus types 16 and 18.



d you know that your emergency contraceptive may act as an abortifacient (have a pre-implantation effect)?

Click here to find out why: