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Emergency Contraception Has Tremendous Potential In the Fight to Reduce Unintended Pregnancy

  • Emergency contraception (EC) consists of the same hormones found in ordinary birth control pills.

  • When taken in a concentrated dosage within 72 hours after unprotected intercourse, EC can prevent a pregnancy from occurring.

  • As much as 43% of the decline in abortion between 1994 and 2000 can be attributed to the use of emergency contraception.

  • Emergency contraception is not "the abortion pill" (mifepristone, or RU-486) and will not affect an established pregnancy.


Emergency Contraception (EC) Played Key Role in Abortion Rate Declines


"Emergency contraception is seven times more effective if it is used within the first 24 hours. It won't work at all once a woman is pregnant. So it's critical that women can get it very quickly, even on weekends and holidays," says Dr. Sharon Camp, president and CEO of the Guttmacher Institute. "Quite a few states have taken steps to improve access, for instance, by letting pharmacists dispense it without a prescription. But other states are putting up new barriers by letting pharmacists refuse to fill prescriptions or letting emergency rooms deny rape victims EC on religious grounds. Meanwhile, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been sitting on an application to take the product off prescription, as Canada and most of Europe have already done."

To set up an interview, contact Rebecca Wind at or .