One year on from the morning after pill becoming available without prescription from pharmacies in Ireland, new research by HRA Pharma shows that, despite fears that increased availability could lead to misuse, the vast majority of women would still only consider using emergency contraception as a last resort.
The research also appears to demonstrate an increasing awareness and support of the improved availability, with almost three quarters of women now aware that emergency contraception can be purchased over the counter and over 90% agreeing that the move has given women more freedom due to the improved access to emergency contraception.
However, there are many arguments both for and against the use of the morning after pill and the increase in its availability has been a controversial issue in Ireland. The research shows though, that two thirds of women disagree with the notion that over the counter availability of the morning after pill has encouraged Irish women to be more promiscuous.
Similarly a huge 91% agree that the ability to purchase the pill over the counter would reduce their risk of an unplanned pregnancy thanks to improved accessibility, while over two thirds of women are of the belief that the stigma which has surrounded using the morning after pill in the past has been significantly diminished since it has become available from pharmacy.
So do you think that over-the-counter emergency contraception is a good thing? Do you think it has led to an increase in unprotected and unsafe sex? And what do you think are the implications of the increased availability?
If you have an opinion on this, or want to learn more on the topic, then log onto our live and interactive webTV show with Dr Pixie McKenna, Mark Sajda, Superintendent Pharmacist from Sam McCauley Chemists, and Tony Fraser, HRA Pharma, where they discuss the morning after pill in Ireland.