March 23, 2004
HONOLULU - Emergency contraception (EC) gives women a second
chance to prevent pregnancy. It consists of a special dose of hormones,
taken within a few days of unprotected sex or contraceptive failure, to
help prevent pregnancy.
Studies show that as many as half of the nearly three million
unintended pregnancies, that occur each year in the U.S., occur to
women who are using a regular method of contraception. These
pregnancies could be prevented if women were aware and understood the
use of emergency contraception. In Hawaii, it is estimated that 56% of
all pregnancies are unintended.
Although the average woman spends two to four years being pregnant,
she spends 20 or more years of her life trying to avoid pregnancy. No
birth control method is 100% effective and there are times when
accidents happen - a diaphragm slips, a woman forgets a pill, the
condom breaks, or she had sex when she didn’t plan to - or want
Since, emergency contraception needs to be taken within a few days
after unprotected sex – the sooner, the better. Women should ask
their healthcare provider for an advance prescription for EC, to keep
in their medicine cabinet.
The Department of Health has been working with Healthy Mothers
Healthy Babies, HMSA, Cox Radio, Queen Emma Clinics, ACLU, Planned
Parenthood and others on a public education campaign about the
availability and advantages of EC.
For more information about the Back Up Your Birth Control Campaign,
go to the website at www.backupyourbirthcontrol.org.
For a list of healthcare providers in Hawaii who provide EC, check the
directory at www.not-2-late.com. Or call your
healthcare provider for your advance prescription of EC.
For more information,
Family Planning Program
Maternal and Child Health Branch
Phone: (808) 733-9097
For additional information,
Darcie Yukimura, MPH
Department of Health, Information Specialist
Phone: (808) 586-4442