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Emergency Contraception

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Emergency Contraception

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  • December 9, 2006
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The question of whether emergency contraception poses a moral dilemma and/or a health risk has been addressed for many years throughout countries in the entire world. Although most moral issues have biased views based on religion, personal beliefs, and family standards, the more important objective question is how are people who choose to use emergency contraceptives putting their own personal health at risk. Today, emergency contraception can be used after a rape or sexual assault, any time unprotected sexual intercourse occurs, or when a birth control method fails. For example, emergency contraception can help to prevent pregnancy after a condom breaks, a diaphragm slips out of place, or birth control pills are not remembered. While there is not just one official definition of emergency contraception, The Whole Truth of Contraception defines it as "a means of using a copper IUD [intrauterine device] or birth control pills to prevent pregnancy after unprotected intercourse" (Winikoff, 1997, p. 214). There are quite a few different forms of emergency contraception, which include, but are not limited to, intrauterine devices, abortion, and oral contraceptive pills, probably the most prevalent method. Many health risks are associated with the use of emergency contraceptive devices, and it is important to be aware of these risks before utilizing these methods.

According to Ory (1993), when abortion was illegal in the United States, most women who were desperate to avoid unwanted childbearing relied on non-medical and unskilled surgeons who performed the procedure under unsanitary conditions. Also, some women had reported that they had inserted catheters and sharp instruments or injected corrosive substances into their wombs. Some even consumed toxic liquids, such as ergot. It is highly recommended that abortions be executed as early as possible, since the threats of mortality increase with weeks of gestation (Ory, 1993). However, now the procedure has...