Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

December-17-02

Study Shows Emergency Contraception Reduces Unwanted Pregnancy

An Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI) study released today revealed that emergency contraception (EC) was responsible for reducing unwanted pregnancies and lowering the number of abortions in the US by as many as 51,000 in the year 2000. The report also showed an 11 percent decline in overall abortion rates in the US between 1994 and 2000; increased use of EC may be responsible for up to 43 percent of that decline. Emergency contraception is a concentrated dose of birth control hormones that is up to 95% effective at preventing pregnancy if taken within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse, contraception failure, or rape. EC could prevent 1.7 million unintended pregnancies and reduce the number of abortions by 800,000 in the United States alone, according to a 1998 study in the New England Journal of Medicine, reported the Associated Press.

Despite this drug's incredible potential to advance women's reproductive health care, 9 out of 10 women of reproductive age do not know about emergency contraception, and only 1 out of 5 physicians regularly discuss it with their patients, according to Planned Parenthood Federation of America. So-called "conscience clauses" permit doctors and pharmacists to refuse to prescribe or dispense emergency contraception, further restricting women's access to this important drug. A survey of all 597 Catholic hospital emergency rooms in the US, released by Catholics for a Free Choice on Dec. 12, found only 5 percent of Catholic emergency rooms provide EC upon request, and an additional 23 percent provide EC only to rape victims.

According to AP, women in certain states can obtain EC prescriptions online without having to visit a doctor or nurse practitioner; for example, Planned Parenthood's Columbia/Willamette chapter just opened an online EC prescription service in Oregon. The Feminist Majority Foundation's Emergency Contraception Over the Counter (EC OTC) campaign is petitioning the FDA to allow women to access EC over the counter without a prescription so that EC can be easily and quickly accessible to all women in the United States. EC is already available over the counter in California, Washington, and Alaska. "Requiring a visit to the doctor for a medication that is safer than aspirin or Tylenol makes no sense. Women have to be aware that this is out there and they have to get it in their medicine cabinets, just like bandages, before they need it," stated Dr. Anita L. Nelson of the UCLA School of Medicine to WebMD Medical News.

TAKE ACTION: Sign the EC OTC Petition and Get Involved

Media Resources: AGI report November/December 2002; WebMD Medical News 9/11/02; PPFA 12/17/02; AGI 12/17/02; Catholics for a Free Choice 12/12/02; AP 12/17/02; USA Today 12/16/02; Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report 12/17/02; Feminist Daily News Wire


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska. The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services. The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge. Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska. "By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read. "We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
 
8/27/2015 Los Angeles Mayor Announces Model Gender Equity Directive - On Women's Equality Day Eric Garcetti, the Mayor of Los Angeles, signed a progressive and inclusive executive directive to take a major step toward gender equity for the city and to be a model for other cities. . . .
 
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections. This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .