The Legal Status of Emergency Contraception

International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Vol. 75, pp. 185-191, 2001

7 Pages Posted: 22 Nov 2006

See all articles by Rebecca J. Cook

Rebecca J. Cook

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

Bernard Dickens

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

Charles Ngwena

University of the Orange Free State

Maria Isabel Plata

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Abstract

Emergency contraception EC, an intervention within 72 h of unprotected intercourse, dates back approximately 30 years, to the Yuzpe method. Recent development of a second generation of 'morning after,' better called 'emergency' contraceptives, has raised claims that they are abortifacient. These claims are largely rejected in medical, legal and much religious reasoning. Pregnancy is usually ascribed to the postimplantation period; means to prevent completion of implantation do not terminate pregnancy. An alternative attack on EC has arisen under South American laws that protect human life 'from conception.' The chance of conception from a single act of unprotected intercourse is very low, in view of limited times of fertility during menstrual cycles. The protection of a woman's life is not suspended during pregnancy. Risks to women's interests are more credible than the chance of conception having occurred. The claim to prohibit EC to protect embryonic life from conception is therefore problematic.

Keywords: Contraception, Emergency contraception, Fertilization, Contragestion, 'Morning after' contraception, Conception, Post-coital contraception, Levonorgestrel

JEL Classification: I18, K19

Suggested Citation

Cook, Rebecca J. and Dickens, Bernard and Ngwena, Charles and Plata, Maria Isabel, The Legal Status of Emergency Contraception. International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Vol. 75, pp. 185-191, 2001. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=946444

Rebecca J. Cook

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 Queen's Park Cr.
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
Canada
416-978-4446 (Phone)
416-978-7899 (Fax)

Bernard Dickens (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 and 84 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
Canada
416-978-4849 (Phone)
416-978-7899 (Fax)

Charles Ngwena

University of the Orange Free State ( email )

205 Nelson Mandela Drive
Park West
Bloemfontein, Free State 9300
South Africa

Maria Isabel Plata

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

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