Recently, the Food and Drug Administration unanimously approved a new emergency contraception (morning after pill), ella. Unlike traditional emergency contraception pills that must be taken within 72 hours after unprotected sex, women will be able to take ella up to 5 days after. Medical studies demonstrate the pill is 98% effective, when used properly. The drug works by blocking the egg from being released in the first place, thereby delaying ovulation and preventing fertilization.
Although this would clearly make life a little easier for a lot of women, ella is not without controversy. In the face of medical studies proving otherwise, anti-choice, anti-birth control critics claim that this medical progress brings us one step closer to "over the counter abortions." This criticism is not necessarily surprising - expanding a woman's ability to control her own body is somehow always viewed as threatening and dangerous.
One (actual) problem still remains- "Plan C" will not be available to women over the counter and requires a prescription, unlike earlier forms of emergency contraception, such as PlanB and ellaOne. By requiring a prescription, the FDA unnecessarily delays a woman's access to the (obviously time-sensitive) medicine, potentially damages a woman's right to confidentiality (especially for young women who are on their parents' insurance plans and/or do not have transportation), and excludes women who do not have access to comprehensive medical coverage. This seemingly simple requirement severely limits many women's ability to actually benefit from this drug.
In addition, there is no word on how much this new medicine would cost. Undoubtedly, this raises questions over who will be able to actually benefit from this new technology, and who will be excluded. Despite these controversies, ella will be released into the market later this year.