Emergency Contraception After Rape

Judith A. Linden, MD; Jasmine C. Mathews, MD


April 29, 2014

In This Article

Current Guideline Recommendations

The most recent revision of the National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations has increased emphasis on offering EC as a part of the routine care of sexual assault victims of child-bearing age.[21] Also, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) committee opinion on access to EC recommends offering EC to all women where appropriate, including to sexual assault survivors.[22]

That being said, the decision to use any particular type of EC should take into account multiple factors, including access to medication, affordability, weight and BMI of the patient, and willingness to tolerate the side effects.

Ideally, emergency departments and centers where sexual assault victims are treated should dispense the full dose of EC to all women of child-bearing potential, to minimize any confusion about availability and insurance coverage. Because these medications are most effective when taken earlier after sexual assault, public awareness campaigns are important to increase awareness of the over-the-counter availability of these medications for those who choose not to seek immediate medical treatment.


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