Planned Parenthood plans for free morning- after pills

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

reater Iowa is preparing to distribute free morning-after pills throughout the state.

It's an effort to spread the word about recent over-the-counter access to the pills, known as Plan B, but some question the agency's plans.

"We're very excited to be able to do this kind of mission work - to let women in Iowa know that this important method of birth control is available to them, and that it's safe and effective," said Kathi Di Nicola of Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa.

The organization will give away the pills to 2,000 people at its 16 Iowa health centers, a single two-ill dose each, with rain checks if supplies run out.

The morning-after pill is a concentrated dose of the most common ingredient in regular birth control pills. When taken within 72 hours after intercourse, the two-pill dose can lower the risk of pregnancy by up to 89 percent.

In August, the Food and Drug Administration gave it over-the-counter status, but only for those over age 18. Those 17 and younger still need a prescription.

Walgreens is among many pharmacies that began stocking Plan B last week. A two-pill dose costs $41.99.

Iowa Right to Life Committee has opposed the availability of Plan B because the drug will prevent an embryo from implanting if a woman has conceived, and for safety reasons, said Kim Lehman, the group's executive director.

"They're giving out a pill that's dangerous to woman, as though it's candy," Lehman said.

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