|Emergency Contraceptive Pills (WHO - OMS, 1998, 44 p.)|
Note: Message points may require local adaptation and testing. Spokespersons should always limit their main message points to three and should practice bridging out of difficult questions back to these message points. It is also helpful to flag two or three key pieces of data to highlight during interviews with media, such as estimates of the number of unplanned pregnancies and abortions that could be prevented if ECPs were more widely used.
Emergency contraception is a uniquely important and under-utilized method of family planning:
· emergency contraception is the only method that can be used after intercourse to prevent pregnancy;
· emergency contraception could prevent a majority of the unintended pregnancies that now occur if more women knew they had an option and had access to supplies;
· by reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies, emergency contraception can reduce the demand for abortion; and
· most women lack enough information to ask health care providers for the method, and many providers are themselves uninformed.
There is overwhelming evidence that emergency contraception is safe and effective for virtually all women:
· emergency contraceptive pills are simply higher doses of commonly used oral contraceptives;
· twenty years of clinical practice demonstrate that one-time use of emergency contraceptive pills is safe even for women who should not take oral contraceptives on a regular basis; the World Health Organization, International Planned Parenthood Federation, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration all have reviewed the scientific data on emergency contraceptive pills and found them safe and effective;
· special products for emergency contraception are approved for use in a growing number of countries, including Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom;
· only about 2 percent of the women who take emergency contraceptive pills will get pregnant; the treatment prevents about three out of four of the pregnancies that would otherwise have occured;
· emergency contraception could quickly be made a part of reproductive health care with a little additional training for health care providers; and
· the major obstacle to wider use is lack of information on the part of women and lack of timely access to contraceptive supplies.