Emergency Contraception: A Cost-Effective Approach to Preventing Unintended Pregnancy

James Trussell, PhD, Charlotte Ellertson, PhD, Felicia Stewart, MD, Jacqueline Koenig, MSB, Elizabeth G. Raymond, MD, MPH, and Tara Shochet, MPH


April 27, 2000

In This Article


Half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended: there were 3 million in 1994 alone, the last year for which data are available.[1] Emergency contraception, which prevents pregnancy after unprotected sexual intercourse, has the potential to reduce significantly the incidence of unintended pregnancy and the consequent need for abortion.[2] Emergency contraception is especially important for outreach to the 3.1 million women at risk of pregnancy who are not using a regular method[3] of contraception and provides a bridge to use of an ongoing contraceptive method. Although emergency contraceptives do not protect against sexually transmitted infection, they do offer reassurance to the 7.9 million women who rely on condoms for protection against pregnancy[3] in case of condom slippage or breakage. Emergency contraceptives available in the United States include emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs) and the copper-T intrauterine device (IUD).[4,5,6]


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