NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Morning After Pill Could Reduce Unintended Pregnancies

May 3, 2001

Despite the widespread availability of contraceptives, about half the pregnancies in the United States are unintended, says the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Of the nation's 6 million pregnancies annually, about half are unintended, the group said.

  • Half of those are as a result of the failure of a contraceptive method, and others can result from having unprotected sex or being the victim of a sexual assault.
  • Of the 3 million unintended pregnancies, about 1 million end in an abortion, the group said.
  • But unintended pregnancies could be cut in half if doctors regularly provided emergency contraceptives, a concentrated dosage of birth control pills commonly known as the morning-after pill.

Emergency contraceptives prevent pregnancy 75 percent to 85 percent of the time. But only one out of five obstetricians and gynecologists report counseling their patients about the availability of products specifically designed to stop a pregnancy if begun within 72 hours of sex.

Some anti-abortion groups oppose the morning-after pill, saying it is a form of abortion.

Source: "Unintended U.S. Pregnancies Could Be Reduced," Reuters Health, May 1, 2001.


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