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Summary: Access to Emergency Contraception Does Not Decrease Abortion Percentage, Study Shows

A recent study shows that access to an advanced supply of emergency contraception did not work to reduce abortion rates, possibly because women do not recognize the risky behaviors that lead to pregnancy.

  • A community intervention study conducted in Scotland concluded that access to free emergency contraception did not reduce the abortion rate in the community in which the study took place. Over the course of 28 months, sexually active women aged 16-29 years were offered, by their healthcare provider, free emergency contraception to keep at home. The study found that 17,000 women who accepted the advanced supply, nearly 45 percent of those women used it, and more than 4,500 gave at least one course of their supply to a friend. The abortion rate in the community did not change, and the researchers concluded that access to an advanced supply of emergency contraception does not have any impact on abortions. The researchers suggest that women possibly do not recognize the risky behavior that leads to pregnancy, and therefore do not recognize the need to use emergency contraception. In conclusion, the researchers believe that widening a woman’s access to emergency contraception will not work to reduce abortion rates.1

1Advanced Provision of Emergency Contraception Does Not Reduce Abortion Rates, Contraception-An International Journal, Vol. 69, Issue 5, May 2004, pp. 361-366.

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