Letter: Plan B not equivalent to birth control pills

I would like to express my concern about the manner in which Plan B was presented in Wednesday’s article “Pregnancy at Yale: What’s a girl to do if contraception fails?” (Feb. 25). In this article the author describes how one individual decided to self-administer numerous birth control pills instead of using Plan B after “learning that Plan B contains the same hormone as regular birth control.” I think the inclusion of this information without a qualifying statement that addresses the validity of this assumption and the possible danger of her actions is irresponsible given the number of women on this campus who have utilized Plan B for emergency contraception.

Yes, Plan B is a high dose of Levonorgestrel, a synthetic progestogen like those used in many birth control pills, but the synthetic forms of this hormone are different in every birth control pill. The FDA drug approval process takes about eight years from initial animal testing until the pharmaceutical reaches the hands of the general public. Other synthetic forms of this hormone have not gone through this process; they have not been proven effective for preventing pregnancy, nor have they been proven safe for consumption.

The News needs to recognize the influence it could potentially have on the health behaviors of students. A cavalier reporting style that does not include interviews with medical professionals or references to scientific information, but presents possibly dangerous role models, is not a judicious manner in which to use that influence.

Maggie Gray

Feb. 25

The writer is a sophomore in Davenport College.


  • mad, mad world

    It is madness to put substances in one's body the effects of which are unknown. Even animals sniff potential ingestibles before ingesting. Their errors are sometimes fatal. Is fun (or "recreation") so irresistible that one is willing to sacrifice health and/or possibly life itself? Our culture seems mad.

  • "jennifer"

    http://ec.princeton.edu/questions/dose.html indicates otherwise. certainly there is a caveat to the birth control pill replacement method that it's not as safe and most likely has worse effects. regardless, it makes sense to consult with an obgyn or medical professional first if you can, but good luck getting an appointment within 24 hours, especially on a weekend.

  • Anonymous

    Isn't a week's worth of birth control pills worth around $28 anyway? Better to just get Plan B from DUH. If you haven't been to med school, stick with on label uses.

  • Plan B

    Plan B = somewhere between $28 and $47 for a 2 bill dose.

    Birth Control = between $30 - $60 (depending on brand) for a 1 month supply.

  • Recent alum

    The letter writer is right -- it's not good for the YDN to just state flatly that these do-it-yourself Plan B recipes are the same as the actual medicine. It's sloppy reporting. Big doses of birth control pills may have different side effects than Plan B and/or may not always be effective. Brands are pretty different, and a lot depends on the brand.

    However, it's also true that if you are truly in an emergency situation where no Plan B is available but birth control pills are, DIY is an option that you should know about and consider if appropriate.