The Emergency Contraceptive Pill (ECP) has proven to be a controversial topic of discussion. Many students understand its purpose, but do we all really know its ins and outs? Having the straight facts can empower you to make educated decisions regarding your own health.
Based on the grounds of moral or religious beliefs, each pharmacist can choose whether or not to receive the training that enables them to prescribe and educate on ECP. It is important to note that pharmacists who do not possess ECP certification are ethically obligated to direct you to an appropriate local pharmacy which will be able to provide you with the service — because every woman has the right to access emergency contraception.
When referring to the clinical definition of contraception, the term encompasses the prevention of pregnancy. Interception refers to the prevention of uterine implantation of a fertilized egg. Emergency contraception is described as any form of birth control which is used after intercourse, but before implantation, and is a woman’s last opportunity to potentially prevent pregnancy.
Since April 2005, the product Plan B has been available in Saskatchewan without a prescription.
What many individuals may not be aware of is that the active ingredient in Plan B, levonorgestrel, is a synthetic progestin which is also contained (at lower levels) in birth control pills. It is most likely that Plan B works through a combination of actions: it temporarily stops the release of an egg from the ovary, prevents fertilization and prevents a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus.
In order to be most effective, Plan B is intended to be taken within 72 hours after suspected contraceptive failure or unprotected sex. The earlier it is taken, the higher the possibility that it will be effective. What may seem obvious to some, but still important to note, is that emergency contraception does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases.
The average age of a woman seeking ECP is 25. With this in mind, access to such is an issue that has and will continue to impact our student population. Many of our university’s students face more than enough pressure from external sources, including pressures from family, friends and society as a whole.
Where students should not encounter pressure is upon interaction with their health care providers. Your health and safety are their first priority. Health-care professionals are there to help you — to help you to better understand and to empower you to better your own health.
Knowledge is power. Having the correct information at your disposal can aid you in making informed decisions for yourself. This, in turn, can enable you to become an active advocate of your own health.
Graphic: Cody Schumacher/Graphics Editor