Every Monday EFC busts myths and takes names, cutting through the misinformation, disinformation, and straight up nonsense to bring you the facts.
Emergency hormonal contraception (EHC), also known as the “morning-after pill”, can be taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex to help prevent pregnancy (though there is also a new pill called EllaOne that can be taken up to 5 days later- ask your pharmacist!).
The key word here is “prevent”- EHC does not cause an abortion. Some people believe that pregnancy begins when the sperm and egg meet, but this is not medically or legally considered to be the case. In fact the High Court has confirmed that pregnancy legally begins when a fertilised egg implants in the lining of a woman’s uterus (womb). EHC works by keeping your ovaries from releasing eggs, keeping the sperm and egg from meeting, or keeping the fertilised egg from implanting, depending on when you take it. If you are already pregnant, taking EHC does not harm the pregnancy.
People who oppose the provision of a comprehensive range of contraception for women would like EHC to be governed by the same laws as abortion (i.e. needing the consent of two doctors). This would cause delays that would prevent women being able to take it on time.