Emergency pill doesn't drop pregnancy rate

January 8, 2007

Widespread use of emergency contraception pills don't appear to lower pregnancy or abortion rates, U.S. researchers said.

A review of 23 studies on the emergency pills "demonstrate convincingly that greater access increases use," researchers said in an article in the January issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology. But they said no study so far has shown that increased access reduced unwanted pregnancies or abortions and called for further study, The Washington Times said Monday.

Supporters have said that widespread use of EC could reduce unwanted pregnancies and lower abortion rates. Critics counter that the latest study doesn't justify the claims.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Plan B, the nation's only EC product, which must be purchased from a pharmacist. Plan B is a set of birth-control pills to be taken by women within 72 hours of sexual intercourse. EC prevents pregnancy by preventing ovulation, preventing fertilization of the egg or preventing implantation of the fertilized egg in the womb.

The researchers said they found that women who had to use emergency contraception were more likely to become serious about using reliable birth control.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: 20 percent of emergency department visits preventable, of which half are cardiovascular disease

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