Reproductive Health Technologies Project and a coalition of medical organizations and women’s groups, including the Feminist Majority Foundation, launched a new campaign today to decrease the number of unintended pregnancies in the U.S. by increasing access to emergency contraception (EC). The campaign, Back Up Your Birth Control, aims to increase awareness of EC and get the pills into the hands of women, through advance prescriptions, before the need for EC occurs.
EC has the potential to prevent up to one-half of the 3 million unintended pregnancies in the U.S. each year, but very few women are aware of this option. Only 2 percent of women aged 18 to 44 had ever used EC according to a 2000 survey, and few physicians discuss this option with their patients. Women also need a prescription to obtain EC in every state in the nation except California and Washington, but EC is only effective 72-hours after intercourse, making the wait for a prescription an insurmountable barrier to using EC effectively. When used correctly, EC reduces the risk of pregnancy up to 89 percent.
The Feminist Majority has launched a nationwide campaign to make EC available over-the-counter and to increase access to EC on college campuses. To learn how you can become involved, visit www.PrescribeChoice.org.