October 1999

Emergency contraception in Mexico City: What do health care providers and potential users know and think about it?

Langer A, Harper C, Garcia-Barrios C, Schiavon R, Heimburger A, Elul B, Reynoso Delgado S, Ellertson C. Emergency contraception in Mexico City: What do health care providers and potential users know and think about it? Contraception. 1999; 60(4):233-241

Emergency contraception promises to reduce Mexico's high unwanted pregnancy and unsafe abortion rates. Because oral contraceptives are sold over-the-counter, several emergency contraceptive regimens are already potentially available to those women who know about the method. Soon, specially packaged emergency contraceptives may also arrive in Mexico. To initiate campaigns promoting emergency contraception, we interviewed health care providers and clients at health clinics in Mexico City, ascertaining knowledge, attitudes, and practices concerning the method. We found limited knowledge, but nevertheless cautious support for emergency contraception in Mexico. Health care providers and clients greatly overestimated the negative health effects of emergency contraception, although clients overwhelmingly reported that they would use or recommend it if needed. Although providers typically advocated medically controlled distribution, clients believed emergency contraception should be more widely available, including in schools and vending machines with information prevalent in the mass media and elsewhere.