The “Morning After Pill” – the emergency contraception – in Costa Rica is still far from reality for many women to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex, as the law that would allow the distribution and sale of the pill is stalled in the Legislature for more than two years.

Promoters of the pill say accidents happen and the the morning after pill) will avoid pregnancy after intercourse without protection.

The Ministerio de Salud has determined that the pill is not “abortive”, but its sale is still restricted in Costa Rica, even though the ministerio is ready to allow its distribution.

But, why its sale still banned in Costa Rica?

The answer is that it requires the will power of legislature to dust off the legislation that has been shelved at the Comisión de Asuntos Sociales de la Asamblea Legislativa for the last two years.

The approval of the legislation would allow the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social (CCSS) to also distribute the pills to women who ask for it.

Some people get confused and think that emergency contraceptive pills, or morning after pills, are the same as “abortion pills”.

Medical experts in the US and Europe are clear that the emergency contraceptive and abortion pills differ and have permittes its use for the last four decades.

In Latin America, 15 countries, including Brazil and Mexico, permit the sale of the morning after pill, even though those countries had to face strong opposition from religious, political and social pressures.

First, the morning after pill contains a completely different drug than the hormones found in the birth control pills used for emergency contraception. Second, emergency contraceptive pills prevent pregnancy, so they work differently than the abortion pill.

Here’s how the morning-after pill works. Human conception rarely occurs immediately after intercourse. Instead, it occurs as long as several days later, after ovulation.

During the time between intercourse and conception, sperm continue to travel through the fallopian tube until the egg appears. So taking emergency birth control the “morning after” isn’t too late to prevent pregnancy.

The morning-after pill is designed to be taken within 72 hours of intercourse with a second dose taken 12 hours later. Plan B One-Step works with one dose. Side effects may include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fatigue, dizziness, menstrual changes and headache. According to the manufacturer, the morning-after pill is more than 80 percent effective in preventing pregnancy after a single act of unprotected sex.

Morning-after pills aren’t the same as mifepristone (Mifeprex), the so-called abortion pill. Emergency contraceptive pills such as Plan B prevent pregnancy. The abortion pill terminates an established pregnancy — one in which the fertilized egg has attached to the uterine wall and has already begun to develop.

Plan B is available to women and girls age 17 and older without a prescription at most pharmacies. You must show proof of age to purchase Plan B. For girls age 16 and younger, Plan B is available only with a doctor’s prescription.