Increasing access to emergency contraception in India
Health and Population: Perspectives and Issues 23(3): 123-132
Publication date: 2000
The last five years have witnessed a dramatic upsurge of interest in the potential role of emergency contraception as a means to reduce unwanted/unplanned pregnancy; limit the need for unsafe abortion and provide better services for rape victims. Though in use since 1960s; recent years have seen the establishment of an international consortium on emergency contraception; the development of innovative training curricula and IEC materials; the implementation of more aggressive strategies for marketing emergency contraceptive pills; and the publication of informed scientific papers, articles and newsletters. However, the non-availability of registered products; lack of awareness among women and health care providers that contraception following intercourse is feasible; and service-related factors hamper accessibility and wider use of emergency contraceptives. Misconceptions that emergency contraception is an abortifacient, and that its use promotes irresponsibility and a promiscuous life-style particularly among adolescents, also contribute to its under-utilisation to prevent unintended pregnancies. This paper describes in detail about the relevance of various emergency contraceptives, the hurdles in their introduction and availability and the efforts by government and non-government organisations for increasing access to emergency contraception in India.