EC Easy

More women in Britain are getting emergency contraception at the drugstore

Published October 28, 2005 4:31PM (EDT)

Yesterday, Broadsheet considered the ideological roadblocks standing between American women and emergency contraception. Today, news from across the pond makes it oh so clear that it really doesn't have to be this way.

In Britain, the number of women getting the morning-after pill from pharmacists doubled in the past year, according to a new study released by the country's Office for National Statistics. But the number receiving emergency contraception from their own doctors went down, meaning that overall, the same number of women used the pill: about 7 percent of those ages 16 to 49, with 46 percent citing condom failure as the reason.

Toni Belfield, of the Family Planning Association, told the BBC: "It is understandable that women will find their local pharmacy an easier place to get hold of emergency pills, because of longer opening hours and greater accessibility. This is important because emergency hormonal contraception is only effective within 72 hours of unprotected sex so the sooner women get hold of it the better."

Too bad American women can't count on having the same option.

By Katharine Mieszkowski

Katharine Mieszkowski is a senior writer for Salon.

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