.- According to a report in the Spanish daily “La Opinion de la Coruña”, the morning-after pill, approved for use in Spain for emergency only, has spread out of control in schools in the northern Spanish region of Galicia, with some young women taking the drug up to seven times a month.
“Doctors are denouncing (the fact) that the pill is being prescribed uncontrollably,” the newspaper reported, and “the practice of turning the post-coital pill into the principal or only contraceptive method is spreading among adolescents” in the region.
Isidro Lago, secretary of the Galician Council of Medical Schools, told the newspaper that there has been an increase in the number of young people who are habitually coming to health centers, sometimes several times a month, to request the morning-after pill.
Government-run health centers in the region offer the drug free of charge. Doctors are supposed to record each prescription in the patient’s file, but this is not happening at emergency clinics where, according to Lagos, “doctors only have around two minutes to spend with each patient, and records of most clinic visits are not computerized.”
Lagos warned that the result is that “the youngest couples do not protect themselves during sexual relations and come in search of a solution a posteriori. In addition, by making the pill available at all centers, it has become easier for some women to request it during each separate visit in order to prevent health professionals from noticing.”
The morning-after pill is equivalent to 25 regular birth control pills and its frequent use can seriously affect a woman’s health. It has three acting mechanisms: the prevention of ovulation, the prevention of fertilization and the prevention of implantation of a fertilized ovum in the uterus, which makes the pill a potential abortifacient.