Why Emergency Contraception Needs To Be Used For Emergencies Only

The one and only time I experienced a condom breaking, I rushed to my doctor to get a prescription for the Plan B emergency contraceptive pill. This was before it was available over the counter. When the doctor explained the complications—the pain, nausea, and bleeding—I was terrified to take the pill and decided to wait it out a day or two. Luckily, I never had to actually use it. I know there has been lots of debate about whether or not it is a good idea to make EC pills easily accessible to young adults. I’ve generally thought it was a good idea because, really, who would want to take a pill with those side effects unless they HAD to, right? That’s why when I read this article in the Times of India about how emergency contraceptives are being used as casual contraception, I was concerned. The statistics are anecdotal, but insane: Dr. Shilpi Tiwari says that more than 50 percent of her clients in their late teens and early 20s show up for treatment with EC-related complications. And she’s not alone—gynos in India claim that there is a sharp spike in women who are arbitrarily and repeatedly using EC pills and abortion pills for fetuses up to 45 days old! The problem? They are using the internet to self-treat and not understanding the consequences or long-term side effects of EC use. And they’re ending up with incomplete abortions, uncontrollable bleeding, or no periods.

Worse? Their reasons. In the article, a 21-year-old college graduate said, “When you’re with your boyfriend, you don’t want to use condoms. [There are complications] at times, but you prefer sex without a condom.” Or 21-year-old Sukriti Kumar, who went to Dr. Vishakha Munjal not knowing if she was pregnant after getting rip-roaring drunk at a party and not remembering if she and her partner had sex that night. She took the abortion pill just in case, but knew something was wrong when she had excessive bleeding.

I am speechless. Let’s hope this does not become a trend worldwide.