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Scottish Study Shows Emergency Contraception (EC/MAP) Does Not Reduce Surgical Abortion Rates

Contraceptive Pill Increases Risk of Stroke Among Migraine Sufferers

Consumer Reports Magazine Rates Condoms



ADVANCED PROVISION OF EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION DOES NOT REDUCE ABORTION RATES – “A number of small studies have demonstrated increased use of emergency contraception (EC) when women have a supply available at home. It has been suggested that widespread use of EC could reduce abortion rates. We undertook a community intervention study designed to determine whether offering advanced supplies of EC to large numbers of women influenced abortion rates. All women aged between 16 and 29 years living in Lothian, Scotland, were offered, through health services, five courses of EC without cost to keep at home. Of a population of around 85,000 women in this age group, the study showed that an estimated 17,800 women took a supply of EC home and over 4500 of them gave at least one course to a friend. It was found that nearly half (45%) of women who had a supply used at least one course during the 28 months that the study lasted. In total, an estimated 8081 courses of EC were used. EC was used within 24 h[hours] after intercourse on 75% of occasions.

“Abortion rates in Lothian were compared with those from three other health board areas of Scotland. No effect on abortion rates was demonstrated with advanced provision of EC. The results of this study suggest that widespread distribution of advanced supplies of EC through health services may not be an effective way to reduce the incidence of unintended pregnancy in the UK.” [bold added][Contraception Volume 69, Issue 5 , May 2004, Pages 361-366 Glasier , Fairhurstc, Wyke, Sue Ziebland, Seaman, Walker,  Lakhaa; Dundee Univ lead researcher Dr Sally Wyke, dir, Scottish School of Primary Care].

Reacting to [EC] launch, John Smeaton, national director of the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child, said at the time: “We feel it is quite disingenuous to promote the morning-after pill by claiming it reduces abortion” [,, 2004/12/03; 3Dec04,] 

The availability of advance supplies of the morning-after pill to Scottish women has failed to reduce the abortion rate, according to one theory, because women are “embarrassed” to ask for such emergency contraception from their family doctor because they will be regarded as promiscuous or morally inadequate. However, thousands of women were provided with the EC in this study and used it; abortion rates remained unchanged. The findings, based on a study of 18,000 woman in the Scottish Lothian Health Board area, were presented at a conference at Dundee University by the leader of the research, Dr Sally Wyke, the director of the Scottish School of Primary Care. Dr Wyke said: “It is having no affect on the abortion rate. The enthusiasm for distributing advanced supplies of emergency contraception may be misplaced as a strategy to reduce unintended pregnancy in the UK. More radical solutions to getting it to the women who need and want it will have to be found.”   

CONTRACEPTIVE PILL INCREASES RISK OF STROKE AMONG MIGRAINE SUFFERERS – A meta-analysis of 14 studies has shown that the risk of stroke is increased among women who suffer from migraines and are on oral chemical contraceptives. A group of researchers have discovered a statistical connection between stroke, migraines and the Pill. “The results of our study strongly suggest that migraine may be an independent risk factor for stroke,” Ali Samii, a neurologist at the University of Washington. Three studies in the review have shown that women who have migraines and who take oral contraceptives were up to 8 times more likely to have a stroke than those not taking the pill. Strokes are caused when a blood clot forms and blocks the flow of blood in the brain. The researchers postulate that the increase of blood flow during a migraine attack. The study, published in the current edition of the British Medical Journal said, “Users of oral contraceptives had an approximately eightfold increase in the risk of stroke compared.” The study’s authors also warned that young women are especially at risk. “Given that use of oral contraceptives is prevalent among young women, the potential risk of stroke among women with migraine who are also users of oral contraceptives must be further investigated.” Read BMJ study (PDF):; [LONDON, England, 14Dec04]


CONSUMER REPORTS MAGAZINE RATES CONDOMS — The not-for-profit group Consumers Union released a report on 17 contraceptive methods, including top U.S. brands of condoms that underwent “vigorous testing,” Reuters reports. Durex condoms rated the best, Planned ParenthoodÂ’s condoms the worst in their performance review. [Consumer Reports magazine, 2/04; Reuters; KaiserReports, 1/5/05; Abstinence Clearinghouse, 5Jan05]