Providing ECs in advance doesn't lower abortion rate

August 1, 2004

Having emergency contraception (EC) on hand at home does not reduce the number of abortions, according to a study from the United Kingdom.

Researchers undertook a community intervention study of all women aged 16 to 29 living in Lothian, Scotland. The researchers gave the women five courses of EC free of charge to keep at home.

Of about 85,000 women in this age group, about 17,800 took at least one supply home; over 4,500 gave at least one course to a friend. Not quite half (about 45%) of the women who had a supply used at least one course during the 28-month study. Despite use of EC within 24 hours of unprotected intercourse, about three quarters of the time, abortion rate remained unaffected.

Glasier A, Fairhurst K, Wyke S, et al. Advanced provision of emergency contraception does not reduce abortion rates. Contraception. 2004;69:361-366.