Words: Nicci Talbot
The British Pregnancy Advisory Service is offering the morning-after pill free by post throughout December. The aim is to give women the option of ordering it in advance as many pharmacies close during the holiday season. They see more women with unwanted pregnancies in January than at any other time of the year.
To qualify, you need to fill in an online form and have a chat with a nurse over the phone. You’ll then be sent a Levonelle pill, some condoms and supporting info by post. I think it’s a great initiative although predictably, an anti-abortion charity is harping on about the dangers of ‘stockpiling’ the drug, saying that it encourages irresponsible behaviour. One pill hardly qualifies as ‘stockpiling’.
Organising emergency contraception in advance is sensible and responsible; it doesn’t mean you’re easy. It’s a last resort and given a choice most women would rather not take it. It messes up your hormonal cycle and makes you feel tired and nauseous. It’s not something you want to inflict on your body on a regular basis, as it contains a high dose of synthetic progesterone (levonorgestrel). Women have the short straw when it comes to contraception (let’s face it, none of it is appealing) so I welcome any initiative that makes things easier and less stressful. Paying £25 for a morning-after pill and having to explain to a pharmacist why you need it isn’t much fun so the postal process may help prevent unwanted pregnancies.
In Wales, the morning-after pill is available free from pharmacies and I’m hoping England will follow suit. £25 is too steep and encourages a fingers crossed approach, which is hardly responsible.
BPAS offers the morning-after pill for the rest of the year at a charge of £25.99 via post (Dr Thom).
BBC News: Morning-after pill offered free by post (published 06/12/12)