ORANGE COUNTY: Emergency Contraception a Big Hit
Aggressive marketing campaigns have brought emergency contraception kits Plan B and Preven onto the radar screen for many women in Orange County, CA, the Orange County Register reports. Planned Parenthood clinics in the area report that nearly 240 women each month request emergency contraception, up 70% from last year. "We have them come back and receive ongoing counseling and get them started on birth control," said registered nurse Pam Pimentel at the Clinic for Women-Santa Ana, a division of Western Medical Centers. "One hundred percent come back for counseling and stay in contact with us," she added. One early concern of making EC more available, the Orange County Register reports, was that "women would be careless about or forgo condoms or birth control." However, that was not the case in a study of 248 San Diego County women. Ninety-seven percent of the women who used emergency contraception "said they would use it again only in an emergency." Of the women studied, 72% said they used condoms for birth control, 17% used oral contraceptives, and the remaining women used other forms of contraception, said Debbie Postlethwaite, director for the pilot project conducted from mid- 1996 to early 1998. Dr. Drew Pinsky, a spokesperson for the American Women's Medical Association's "Sex & Sensibility" campaign and the co-host of MTV's "Loveline," also championed the methods, saying, "Here is something that could potentially substantially impact the incidence of abortion in the country, maybe eliminate abortion if used properly." Pinsky said having emergency contraception pills on hand is like having a fire extinguisher in the kitchen: "It doesn't mean you'll be reckless in the kitchen, but in case you have a fire, you can readily put it out" (Liddane, 8/11).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.