Will Plan B One-Step pill cause an abortion? FDA says 'no'

The so-called morning after pill, Plan B One-Step (and generic versions of the drug, levonorgestrel), does not cause abortions, the FDA confirmed Dec. 23, despite packaging information that suggests otherwise.

To clarify the misleading wording on leaflets included in the Plan B One-Step boxes, the wording on the package insert will be changed going forward to make clear the intended use and methodology of the drug, first approved in 1999 with specific age restrictions. The pill was made available over the counter in 2013 for women of all ages.

Original wording suggested the "pill might work by preventing a fertilized egg from implanting in the womb" – phrasing that led pro-life advocates to label the emergency contraception as the equivalent of having an abortion.

However, the updated packaging information will state Plan B One-Step pills "do not prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the womb."

Further, the new package insert will clearly state the pill "will not work if you're already pregnant, and will not affect an existing pregnancy."

"Plan B One-Step is an emergency contraceptive, a backup method of birth control. Emergency contraception is used to reduce the chance of pregnancy after unprotected sex (if other birth control failed or was not used). It is not for routine contraceptive use," according to the clarified FDA description. 

In responding to a question on the FDA's frequently asked question page, the agency maintains "evidence does not support that the drug affects implantation or maintenance of pregnancy after implantation, therefore, it does not terminate a pregnancy."

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