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Fam Plann Perspect. 1999 Sep-Oct;31(5):237-40, 260.

Women's experience and satisfaction with emergency contraception.

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  • 1Pacific Institute for Women's Health, Los Angeles, CA, USA.



If any new contraceptive technology is to become a viable option for decreasing unintended pregnancies, women must be willing to use the method and find it acceptable. However, because emergency contraceptive pills have not been widely used, very little is known about this method's acceptability.


Telephone interviews were conducted with 235 women who had received emergency contraceptive pills through a demonstration project at 13 Kaiser Permanente medical offices in San Diego to assess women's experience and satisfaction with the pills.


More than two-thirds of the women (70%) were using a contraceptive method prior to their need for emergency contraception, and 73% of these users were relying on condoms. When asked about the situation that led to unprotected intercourse, 45% reported that their condom broke or slipped, while 23% said they had had unplanned sex. More than three-quarters of the sample (81%) experienced at least one side effect. The overwhelming majority were satisfied with emergency contraceptive pills (91%) and would recommend them to friends and family members (97%). Just one-quarter of the sample (28%) believed that emergency contraceptive pills should be dispensed over the counter, and an even lower proportion agreed that they should be available from vending machines (6%).


Because women were overwhelmingly accepting of emergency contraceptive pills, found them easy to use and did not intend to substitute them for regular contraceptive use, this new method is an important addition to the contraceptive options available to women, providing a way to prevent pregnancy after unprotected intercourse or method failure.

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