This photo illustration shows a package of Plan B contraceptive. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Regarding the June 29 news article “Justices decline to review requirement that pharmacies dispense emergency contraception”:

Ralph’s Thriftway brought the challenge to the Supreme Court of having to sell the emergency-contraception pill because “the family said it believes that life begins at conception and that ‘preventing the uterine implantation of a fertilized egg is tantamount to abortion.’ ” While The Post included a parenthetical statement that “there is disagreement about whether emergency contraception is an abortifacient,” the facts in this case are quite clear. Research has shown that emergency-contraceptive pills have a similar mechanism of action as the widely used and accepted oral contraceptive pill: They prevent pregnancy by preventing or delaying ovulation. Emergency-contraceptive pills do not prevent or disrupt the implantation of a fertilized egg and do not disrupt an ongoing pregnancy or have any negative impact on the fetus. 

Emergency-contraceptive pills work only if they are taken before ovulation; they have no effect after ovulation. The World Health Organization has issued a fact sheet on the mechanism of action and safety of emergency-contraceptive pills. Unfortunately, emergency-contraceptive pills are sometimes mistaken for oral medications (e.g., mifepristone or misoprostol) that can be used to induce an abortion of an established pregnancy.  

It is time to put this issue to rest.

Jeff Spieler, Bethesda

The writer is on the research committee of the International Consortium for Emergency Contraception.