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Sydney bioethicist interviewed by Zenit on Morning After Pill

Zenit newsagency carried an interview on the weekend with Dr Brigid Vout, executive officer of the Sydney Life Office on "Australia's dalliance with the Morning After Pill".

Following is Zenit's introduction to the story:

Australia's move to allow sales of the morning-after pill over the counter is a prescription for trouble, says a medical expert.

Dr. Brigid Vout, executive officer of the Sydney Archdiocese's Life Office, shared with Zenit some of the problems related to the morning-after pill.

Vout, a qualified medical practitioner, is working on a master's in bioethics at the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and the Family in Melbourne.

Q: Since the beginning of this year the morning-after pill is available over the counter in pharmacies. What are the main objections raised by the Church to this change?

Vout: The morning-after-pill can work as a contraceptive -- preventing ovulation or fertilization -- or by causing the "chemical" abortion of a newly conceived human embryo. The abortifacient action of this drug is not widely known about or understood.

Making the drug available over the pharmacy counter will only make this situation worse! It is extremely difficult for pharmacists working in a public and often busy workplace to adequately -- and confidentially -- counsel women about how this drug works.

It is equally difficult for them to provide important information about its other side effects and health risks for women. This means that many more early human lives may be lost and that the physical and psychological well-being of women may be placed at risk.

At the same time, easy access to the morning-after pill does nothing to encourage men and women to live chaste lives. People should be encouraged and enabled to take responsibility for their sexual activity and not to engage in activities which might lead them to seek over-the-counter medication which may act to cause an abortion.

Zenit – Australia's dalliance with the Morning After Pill

7 Jun 2004