“The condom broke, and I was totally scared. So was he.”
A representative of Ixchen, a local NGO, explains outreach activities of the Reproductive Health/Emergency Contraception (RH/EC) Project to a pharmacy attendant in Managua, Nicaragua. Jolene Beitz from PATH looks on attentively. The consumer-driven quality pharmacy project for adolescents was implemented by PRIME II/Intrahealth, PATH, and Ixchen.
© 2002 Alfredo L. Fort, Courtesy of Photoshare
This is how one woman begins her video testimonial on Princeton University’s Emergency Contraception website in support of access to emergency contraception. Though this particular woman is American, there are millions of women like her throughout the world who, whether because of sexual assault or coercion, failure of a contraceptive method, or unprotected sexual intercourse, have been at risk of unwanted pregnancy.
When taken within five days of intercourse, emergency contraceptives can prevent most pregnancies. Emergency contraceptives, which include both emergency contraceptive pills and the copper IUD, are not only a safe and effective way to reduce the risk of unwanted pregnancy, but they also help prevent unsafe abortion and maternal morbidity and mortality. In this way, emergency contraception has been a lifesaver for many women—literally. This is incredibly important in low- and middle-income countries, where 18.5 million unsafe abortions—86 percent of the annual global total—occur each year, claiming the lives of 47,000 women and accounting for 13 percent of all maternal deaths.