Augusta Planned Parenthood gives away emergency contraceptives

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December 6, 2006

A method of birth control given away for free at a local Planned Parenthood center has many women lined up.

But those who oppose it say it's like condoning abortion.

Today, Planned Parenthood gave away boxes of the Emergency Contraceptive pill.

The center says the pills are a safe and effective method of birth control that prevents pregnancy after sex.

But opponents disagree with women taking the pill. They say it is another form of abortion.

Saying "accidents happen", Planned Parenthood is spreading the word to women that they can back up their birth control. They gave away free Emergency Contraceptive pills today.

Jessica Johnson, a mother of three, took advantage.

"You can use a condom and it may break, and you have another option now, and that's another something you don't have to worry about," she said.

If taken within five days of unprotected sex, the emergency contraceptive, also known as Plan B, can prevent pregnancy.

"It is sort of like a second chance to prevent an unintended pregnancy," said Mary Beth Pierucci of Planned Parenthood.

The sooner you take the first tablet, the more effective plan b will be.

Planned Parenthood recommends the first pill be taken within 72 hours after unprotected sex, and the second pills taken 12 hours later.

Making the pill available over the counter and readily available gives women another option immediately.

"This saves time," Pierucci said. "You can have it in your medicine cabinet just in case."

But Susan Swanson from the Augusta Care Pregnancy Center is on the other side of the issue. She doesn't recommend women take the pill.

"[Fertilization] happens in the fallopian tube in 24 to 48 hours, and that's before EC contraceptive can get in the person. It is an abortion," she said.

"My thing is, you never know someone's circumstances," said Johnson. "It's quick to say you don't have to lay down and have sex. You have people who are married and the condom breaks and they are not ready for a child financially."

Normally, Planned Parenthood offers the pills to women for about $30 dollars.

The Augusta Care Pregnancy Center does not offer the pill at all.

Side effects from taking Plan B include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and stomach pain.

The Emergency Contraceptive does not protect against STDs.

The free emergency contraception pills were given away at more than 350 Planned Parenthood health centers across the country...

The FDA has granted over-the-counter status for Plan B for women over 18 and older.