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Morning after pill fails to reduce abortion rates

The decision to provide women with the morning after pill over the counter has failed to reduce the UKs abortion rate, new figures reveal.

Researchers from Dundee, Edinburgh and Oxford universities found that a 28-month scheme by Lothian Health Board had no effect on women who were not already using family planning services.

Nearly 18,000 women aged from 16 to 29 were given packs of the morning-after pill to keep at home under the scheme.

However, the study concluded that many people were "too embarrassed" to ask for the advance emergency contraception.

More than 4,500 of the women gave at least one course to a friend and 45 per cent of the women used at least one of the courses themselves during the study, but admitted that they rarely asked for advance supplies of emergency contraception due to embarrassment and concern about being judged by health professionals as morally inadequate.

Expert Dr Sally Wyke, of Dundee University and the director of the Scottish School of Primary Care, presented at the Social Dimensions of Health Institute seminar, stating: "If advance supply of emergency contraception is to be successful in reducing abortion rates, professionals must address their concerns about emergency contraception.

"They must develop imaginative ways of encouraging women most at risk of unwanted pregnancy to take supplies home."


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