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Oregon PRAMS: Presentations

Awareness of Emergency Contraception, Oregon, 1998-99

Kenneth D. Rosenberg, MD, MPH, Erica Dale, Alfredo S. Sandoval, MS, MBA
Oregon Department of Human Services, Office of Family Health, Portland, Oregon
Introduction. Over half of Oregon pregnancies are unintended. Emergency contraception (EC; "the morning-after pill") has been used (as a combination of oral contraception pills) since the 1970s. New dedicated EC pills have increased the ease of their use.

Methods. Oregon Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) surveys a stratified random sample of women after a live birth. In 1998-99 we interviewed 1867 women (65.4% response rate). Women were asked whether they have ever heard of "emergency birth control (the 'morning-after' pill)."

Results. 70.3% of new mothers said that they had heard of EC. The women most likely to have not heard about EC (in logistic multivariate analysis) were mothers with less than a high school education, with an annual family income below $30,000, and whose pregnancies were unintended.

Discussion. Emergency Contraception (EC) is an important method for preventing unintended pregnancy. There are several ways in which public health professionals can help increase women's access to EC. They can educate providers and women of the availability of EC. They can encourage providers to prescribe advance prescriptions for EC. They can encourage state medical and pharmacy associations to collaborate (and state legislators to pass laws) allowing pharmacists to evaluate a patient's need for EC and provide counseling, referrals and EC pills if appropriate.

American Public Health Association 130th annual meeting, November 11, 2002.