Morning After Pill

A new survey of women finds that just a small percentage of women are aware of the availably of the morning after pill and fewer still know how the mechanism of the Plan B drug works. The morning after pill may cause an abortion in some instances and pro-life groups oppose the use of the drug for that and other reasons.

Conducted by North Carolina-based AllPoints Research, a national Web survey of 300 women found that only 20 percent of women are aware of Plan B, and less than 8 percent really understand how the morning after pill works.

Although the Food and Drug Administration has announced that it will work with the maker of the drug, Barr Laboratories, to make it available over the counter to women over the age of 18, the survey shows most women don't know much about it.

AllPoints reports that most of the 20 percent of women who are aware of the morning after pill understand that it is a high dosage of birth control pills meant to prevent pregnancy.

But the poll found nearly one-third of that group of 20 percent believe the Plan B drug always causes an abortion in the same way as the RU 486 abortion drug, also known as mifepristone. That drug is meant to cause an abortion in an early-term pregnancy.

The hormone in the morning-after pill works by keeping a woman's ovaries from releasing eggs — ovulation. The hormone in the morning-after pill also prevents pregnancy by thickening a woman's cervical mucus. The mucus blocks sperm and keeps it from joining with an egg.

The hormone also thins the lining of the uterus. In theory, this could prevent pregnancy by keeping a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus.