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'Emergency contraceptive' deceives Australian women - 1 July 2002

Australian women should not be deceived by promotion for a new morning-after pill, said Mary Joseph, spokesperson for the Australian Federation of Right to Life Associations. The morning-after pill Postinor-2 is expected to be launched today by drug company Schering.

"Postinor-2 is being described as an 'emergency contraceptive' when one of its main effects is to prevent the implantation of an embryo and thereby cause an early abortion", said Ms Joseph.

"Quite clearly, acting against the implantation of an embryo is something that happens after conception and is not a 'contraceptive' action.

"Women are not being informed of the full implications of using this drug and are therefore prevented from seeking appropriate counselling or from giving their full informed consent.

"The nature of the drug, designed to be taken within 72 hours after sexual intercourse in order to be effective, works against women being fully informed and having time to think through the implications of taking these pills", said Ms Joseph.

"Some of the morning-after pill's advocates claim that the term abortion only applies after the embryo implants in the uterus. But this drug will ensure the death of many embryos. We object to the deliberate destruction of a human embryo by ensuring it cannot implant in the uterus. We object that advocates are hiding behind irrelevant distinctions. We object that women will not be given this information.

"The launch of Postinor-2 is significant as it is the first commercially packaged morning-after pill to be sold in Australia. Other pharmaceutical companies will soon be making applications to take part in this new market. The creation of this new market is a shocking attempt to exploit vulnerable women and girls for commercial gain."

A fact sheet on the Postinor-2 morning-after pill can be found at www.righttolife.asn.au

Contact:    Mary Joseph, spokesperson for the Australian Federation of Right to Life Associations, telephone 02 6253 3100.