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Every woman deserves a second chance at preventing unintended pregnancy.
If taken within 120 hours of unprotected intercourse, emergency contraception can reduce the risk of pregnancy significantly. However, emergency contraception is most effective when used within the first 24 hours following unprotected intercourse. This gives women a relatively short time frame in which to locate a pharmacy that carries it; any delay and the chance of pregnancy increases. Due to the narrow window of opportunity in which emergency contraceptives can be used and how critically important they can be in preventing unintended pregnancy, it is important that the barriers to accessing emergency contraceptives are minimized.
A pervasive obstacle to access EC is the mistaken belief that it is an abortifacient (like Mifepristone), but EC cannot medically terminate a pregnancy. Rather, it works by thickening the cervical mucus, thereby preventing implantation, or by suppressing ovulation.
EC in the ER
A 2009 study by the NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri Foundation found that 53% of Missouri hospitals do not provide rape survivors with access to emergency contraception in the ER. Since EC is a time-sensitive medication, failing to offer EC in public health facilities as well as emergency rooms can result in unintended pregnancy. Timely administered EC has been shown to reduce the risk of pregnancy by 89%.
Rep. Newman has also introduced a bill that includes the CARE act, which would require any health care facility that provides emergency care to a sexual assault victim must provide a complete regimen of emergency contraception if requested.