Only days ago, the “morning after” pill, Plan B One-Step, was known to damage a woman’s uterine lining, preventing a developing baby from implanting in the womb. In other words, the drug could cause an abortion.
However, FDA now says Plan B One-Step does not have abortifacient potential after all. That’s because the U.S. Supreme Court decided to end federal protections for abortion in June, and Plan B’s former product labeling has proven confusing to customers, says FDA.
Updates to the labeling are intended to “reduce barriers to use of the legally marketed approved product,” reads an agency statement. It’s convenient timing: SCOTUS hands down a ruling that affects sales of a pharmaceutical drug, so FDA swoops in to save the day.
Plan B One-Step is a pill that women can take within 72 hours of intercourse to prevent pregnancy. It releases a synthetic hormone, levonorgestrel, which discourages ovulation — the release of an egg from an ovary. According to product literature, that is one way in which it acts to inhibit a woman from becoming pregnant.
Additionally, per Mosby’s annual Nursing Drug Reference manual, the medication also alters a woman’s uterine lining to prevent a pregnancy from developing. The uterine damage affects pregnancy post-fertilization (i.e., after conception, when a new life already exists). This abortifacient potential is characteristic of all progestins — of which levonorgestrel is one example — and has been recognized since the drug came into widespread medical use in the early 1970s.
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