FDA Issues Another Confusing Statement About Birth Control

Just what America needs: more confusion over what birth control actually does. After reports surfaced on Friday that the FDA had quietly changed its description of how contraception works, the agency has clarified that it never changed anything and that all of this hullabaloo about saying that The Pill can't prevent implantation of a fertilized egg was a big mistake and that everyone should resume their daily arguing about personhood.

Here's how the confusion started: on Friday, The Daily Beast noticed that the FDA's website contained what appeared to be a new .pdf file that described what birth control does and how it works. Conspicuously missing from the description was that whole bit about how The Pill or an IUD can work to prevent implantation of an already-fertilized egg. But it turns out that the "new" description was actually an "old" .pdf file that the FDA simply neglected to remove from its site. And also neglected to make sure matched with other site descriptions of how the drug worked. Government!

Public pressure on the FDA has increased in recent weeks, as a New York Times investigative piece unveiled that most scientists believe that emergency contraception works by delaying ovulation or inhibiting sperm, not by interfering with implantation. Because emergency contraception is just a high dose of just plain ol' regular contraception, it would stand to reason that if EC doesn't interfere with implantation, neither does birth control.

Alas, the debate was not meant to be settled this week.

[The Daily Beast]