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Also known as the ‘morning after pill’ – emergency contraception medications such as Levonelle allow women who have engaged in unprotected sex to minimise their risk of falling pregnant for as much as 48 hours afterwards. In the event of accidental or reckless unprotected sex, it is comforting for women of all ages to know that a form of emergency contraception is available.
However, the morning after pill is the subject of much debate surrounding advertising and awareness. What is the difference between encouraging irresponsible sexual behaviour and increasing patient awareness?
In a new campaign launched by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) over the festive period, women were encouraged to prepare for a season of reckless behaviour by ordering emergency contraception in advance. One poster for the campaign featured the word ‘sex’ in Christmas tree lights, and asked women if they were ‘getting turned on’ over Christmas.
However, this poses a significant issue with regard to emergency contraception – is any kind of advertising only encouraging women to have unprotected sex?
The argument against morning after pill advertising is that it only serves to normalise behaviour that is threatening to female health. In the case of this multimedia campaign, critics claim that the message sent is that unprotected sexual activity is inevitable, but women can be prepared for it. However, with unplanned birth rates continually increasing around the world, is it such a bad thing that women can take control of their futures with emergency contraception?
Whether or not the promotion of the morning after pill trivialises unprotected sex, there is no doubt that a woman has the right to access this kind of medication if she finds herself at risk of becoming pregnant. What’s more, the morning after pill is safe to take on several occasions – for more information, read our Emergency Contraception guide.
However, the most important thing for every woman to remember is that prevention is the best solution – only by using effective barrier protection alongside a standard contraceptive pill can woman enjoy an active sex life without the risk of pregnancy or sexually transmitted infection.
If a woman is responsible enough to follow these rules but ultimately still finds herself at risk of falling pregnant, it is her right to seek emergency contraception as necessary.