More than 50 Californian advocacy groups, including the Pharmacy Access partnership and the Feminist Majority Foundation, have joined together to form the California Emergency Contraception Network. The coalition intends to work to reduce California’s unintended pregnancy rate. California has the seventh highest teenage pregnancy rate in the nation, with more than 100,000 teens becoming pregnant each year. It is estimated that half of all pregnancies in California are unintended. Despite these high numbers, the Guttmacher Institute recently ranked California as number one in the country for its family planning initiatives.
The goals set by the California Emergency Contraception Network include “increasing community awareness, understanding and access to emergency contraception, sharing models of successful programs throughout the state and ultimately helping improve emergency contraception efforts nationally.”
Emergency contraception can prevent pregnancy if taken within five days of unprotected sex, birth-control failure, or rape, but is most effective if taken within 24 hours. Most states require a doctor’s prescription, which takes time and therefore increases risk of pregnancy. California is one of eight states that have an over-the-counter exchange for emergency contraception, which allows women to get EC from pharmacists who can prescribe and distribute the drug rather than doctors.