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India: Popping morning after pills like candy

Emergency contraceptives are easy to get and all the rage in India.

But there is no denying that the emergency drug is bringing about a sexual liberation for women in India. Aditi says that the emergency pill provides a stress-free relationship with her boyfriend.

Gynecologist Vidya Mani said a worrisome fallout of this new-found freedom is the carefree attitude toward contraception. She said she has noticed a trend of younger women coming to her with problems such as irregular menstruation and pelvic infections because of the erroneous use of the emergency drug as a primary contraception.

Besides the sexual emancipation that the emergency drug is bringing about in middle-class India, there are serious downsides too, she said. “I have dealt with cases where young women have used the emergency pill much after the ‘safe’ time and have had to abort fetuses,” said Mani.

As if on cue, critics in cities from Chennai to Mumbai are demanding a ban on the advertisements saying they mislead young women into thinking that the drug can replace regular contraception. They fear that the attitude toward casual sex will also change because of the easy availability of such drugs.

Morning-after pills are supposed to facilitate control over sexuality and fertility. But in India, the bigger fuss is over the easy availability of the pills and their potential to morally corrupt young minds.