According to a Feb. 14 Associated Press report, about 1 in 9 young women have used the morning-after pill after sex. This statistic is based on the first government report to focus on emergency contraception since its approval 15 years ago.
Women aged 15-44 were surveyed and of that target group, 11% of those who have had sex reported using the morning-after pill. This number is reportedly up from 4% in 2002, a few years after the pills went on the market and were available only with a prescription.
According to experts, the frequency of use is probably due to the fact that one does not need a prescription, coupled with media coverage of the efforts to lift the age limit for over-the-counter sales. Young women under the age of 17 must have a prescription in order to purchase the morning-after pill. At least five versions of the pill are sold in the United States at a cost of $35 to $60, depending on the brand.
Studies show that half the women who used the pills did it because they engaged in unprotected sex, while a few noted problems with failed contraceptive methods, like broken condoms.
White women and higher educated women tend to use the high-dose birth control pill the most. James Trussell, a Princeton University researcher who's studied the subject says he is not surprised. “I don't think you can go to college in the United States and not know about emergency contraception,” said Trussell, who has promoted its use and started a hot line.
One Pennsylvania college dispenses the pills via vending machine (Video).
The results of the study were released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Feb. 14.
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