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Sunday 20th May 2018

Emergency contraception debate

15th September 2006

15092006_young_couple1.jpgAccording to an editorial in the BMJ, easy availability of emergency contraception does not have a notable effect on rates of pregnancy and abortion.

Professor Anna Glasier, director of family planning and well woman services of Lothian Primary Care NHS Trust, Edinburgh, questions the usefulness of emergency contraception, saying it does help some women some of the time, who do not want to get pregnant.

Although emergency contraception has been heralded as the solution to rising abortion rates, in the UK abortion rates have increased from 11 per 1,000 women aged 15-44 in 1984 to 17.8 per 1,000 women in 2004 in spite of the increased use of emergency contraception.

Figures show that use of this form of contraception has increased in the UK in recent years, with 1% of women requesting an abortion in 1984 saying they had used it to try and prevent the pregnancy, rising to 12% in 2002.

However ten different studies from different countries show providing women with a supply of emergency contraception to keep at home increased its use by twofold or threefold, but with no measurable effect on rates of pregnancy or abortion.

Professor Glasier suggests that “If you are looking for an intervention that will reduce abortion rates, emergency contraception may not be the solution and perhaps you should concentrate most on encouraging people to use contraception before or during sex, not after it.?

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Article Information

Title: Emergency contraception debate
Author: Chris May
Article Id: 773
Date Added: 15th Sep 2006


British Medical Journal

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