In this medical video learn how women will soon be able to get the morning after pill over the counter. Two experts face off. Is it about time, or is easier access unsafe?
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Jennifer Matthews: These tiny pills are stirring up a hot debate. Some experts say they could cut abortion rates in half. Others say they are abortion. Dr. Omar Hamada: The egg and the sperm have met and created a baby. That is an abortion, essentially -- a medical abortion. Jennifer Matthews: But Dr. Jeff Andrews says it depends on how you define abortion. The U.S. government says abortion is terminating a pregnancy after the sperm and egg have met and that fertilized embryo has implanted in the uterus. Plan B prevents implantation from ever happening. Dr. Jeff Andrews: Plan B could not possibly be an abortive fashion because it acts before implantation and does not affect the pregnancy after implantation. That's been proven. Jennifer Matthews: Safety is another issue. Dr. Hamada says easy access encourages frequent use and could pose risks we don't know about, like ovarian cancer or infertility. Dr. Omar Hamada: We don't give people open access to antibiotics or other things like that for similar reasons -- just because people would tend to take them way too much, and that causes problems. Jennifer Matthews: Dr. Andrews, says studies show even when women have easy access, most only use it in emergency situations. Plan B is very safe if used according to instructions. Jennifer Matthews: Med student Sara Risner-Adler had an emergency and was able to get Plan B in time. But many of her friends haven't been as lucky. Sara Risner-Adler: People had oftentimes have said, 'Well, I really should have taken it, but I could not get it, and let me just cross my fingers and hope. Jennifer Matthews: But now you can get it -- and whether it's a step in the right -- or wrong direction -- is for you to decide. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.