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Study Shows Access to Emergency Contraception Does Not Lead to Risky Sex

A new study released today found that women who have easier access to Plan B brand emergency contraception do not engage in riskier sexual behaviors. The study, by researchers at the University of California at San Francisco, was published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study also revealed that women who had the most access to emergency contraception (EC) were also most likely to use it to prevent unintended pregnancies, according to Women’s eNews. Women who received EC in advance were twice as likely to actually use EC as women who had to go to a clinic to obtain a prescription for EC or women who could obtain EC through behind-the-counter pharmacy access available in California, the San Francisco Chronicle reports..

“The concept that [easier access to EC] could be harmful or that young women would misuse it is a notion with no evidence to date to support it,” Dr. Tina Raine, lead author of the study, told the Chronicle. An application for over-the-counter status for Plan B was given a not-approvable letter in May by the Food and Drug Administration, because of lack of data on the use of EC among adolescents. Barr Laboratories, the makers of Plan B, have since submitted an application for over-the-counter status with age restrictions, under which women 15 years old and younger would still need a prescription to obtain the drug. The FDA is expected to make its decision by January 22.

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Sources:

San Francisco Chronicle 1/5/05; WomenÕs eNews 1/5/05; Washington Post 1/5/05; Feminist Majority Foundation

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