March 21, 2003
The findings suggest that the morning-after pill may lower the rate of unwanted pregnancies without raising the risk that women will substitute the contraceptive method for others that protect against STDs, said study author Dr. Marvin Belzer.
Belzer and colleagues at the Children's Hospital Los Angeles provided 160 mothers ages 14-20 with a short educational program on how to use and obtain emergency contraception. After the program, one half of the girls received an advance supply of emergency contraception, which they were told was refillable.
Before the study began, only 7 percent of study participants said they had used emergency contraception. However, 85 percent of the teens given an advance supply said they had used it during the following six months. And only 7 percent of the women given the morning-after pill said they had become pregnant six months later. In contrast, pregnancies occurred in 18 percent of women who did not receive an advance supply. Furthermore, six months after receiving the pills, the teens "did not decrease their condom use," Belzer said.
03.19.03; Alison McCook