Abortion Rights Blog

The national pro-choice campaign

Christmas pill scheme gets mixed reception

Image06.12.11. The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) has announced plans to make the morning-after-pill readily available for women over the Christmas period, leading to an outcry from anti-abortion campaigners who have dubbed the scheme ‘vulgar’ and ‘as easy as dialling for a pizza’.

Abortion provider BPAS says that over the festive season women often struggle to obtain emergency contraception. During the Christmas period women may be unable to make appointments with their doctors and others cannot pay the high price charged at pharmacies (as much as £25).

In response, BPAS has launched their campaign to attempt to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies at this time of year.

Despite pro-life campaigners criticising the ease with which medication will be available, BPAS has implemented a stringent service that will attempt to ensure that the pills are distributed to those who are suitable.

To obtain a morning after pill, women must first fill in their details at www.santacomes.org along with an appropriate time to be contacted. They will then receive a 15-minute phone call from a nurse to assess their suitability, it will include advice on how to take the pill, what to expect and how the pill actually works. If they are suitable, the pill will be despatched with condoms and advice literature to their home address.

Anti-choice group LIFE claim the scheme will encourage drunken partygoers to have risky unprotected sex. Spokesperson Michaela Aston commented:

“What a sad state of affairs that over Christmas BPAS is anticipating and encouraging unwise sexual behaviour by enabling people to stockpile the morning-after pill.”

However, BPAS has explained that the provision of the pill is merely a way to ensure that women are completely protected against unwanted pregnancies.

In an article for the Telegraph Cristina Odone claimed the scheme amounts to encouraging ‘impulse abortion’, repeating the common anti-choice fallacy that the morning after pill acts as an abortifacient. In reality, emergency hormonal contraception prevents a pregnancy from occurring by stopping ovulation or fertilisation, or by preventing a fertilised egg from implanting in the uterus.

So whilst anti-abortion campaigners bandy around phrases regarding the ease of access, it is important to remember that BPAS have trained professionals providing sound advice to women and thoroughly assess their suitability before dispatching the pill. It is difficult to imagine that dialling for a Domino’s pizza would ever be so complex.