Stocking up on the morning-after pill will not reduce unintended pregnancies, according to a professor who has strongly backed the provision of such drugs.
Professor James Trussell of Princeton University said such strategies simply don’t work – because people forget to take the pills.
Research also suggests that stocking up on the morning-after pill may encourage people to take more risks with unprotected sex.
The morning-after pill can end the life of an early human embryo.
Prof Trussell, who has actively promoted making the morning-after pill more widely available, analysed 15 studies from around the world which looked at the impact of giving women such pills in advance.
All but one of them showed it had no effect on reducing later abortions or unwanted pregnancies.
And one research paper – of 1,500 women in America – appeared to show that such schemes made people more inclined to have unprotected sex.
Prof Trussell commented: “I just don’t think it’s a strategy that is going to lead to a reduction in unintended pregnancies or abortions.”
He also said there is “a lot of unprotected sex out there”, and unless women take the morning-after pill every time they will eventually “end up getting pregnant”.
The professor is a senior fellow at the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute and a supporter of the abortion group Planned Parenthood.
Ahead of last year’s Olympics, women in Greater London were told to stock up on the morning-after pill.
Under the British Pregnancy Advisory Service’s controversial scheme the morning-after pill was to be delivered to women’s homes after a brief phone consultation.
In February this year the Scottish Government was urged to allow the morning-after pill to be handed out in schools.
A group of NHS experts made the call, which faced criticism for being irresponsible and pouring “more fuel on the flames”.
And in 2011 a scheme which offered free morning-after pills in Wales was shown to have little impact on teenage pregnancy.
Research into a pilot scheme in Bridgend showed despite increased uptake “the trend in conceptions for Bridgend was not significantly different to the rest of Wales”.