November 2002

Policy climate, scholarship, and provision of emergency contraception at affiliates of the International Planned Parenthood Federation in Latin America and the Caribbean

Diaz-Olavarrieta, C, Norris Turner A, Ellertson C, Helzner J, Ezcurra E. Policy climate, scholarship, and provision of emergency contraception at affiliates of the International Planned Parenthood Federation in Latin America and the Caribbean. Contraception. November 2002; 65(2):143-149.

Emergency contraception (EC) has great potential to decrease the incidence and resulting consequences of unwanted pregnancy, including unsafe abortion. We conducted this study to understand EC practices in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). We contacted 43 International Planned Parenthood Federation affiliates in LAC to interview them about EC availability. We collected family planning norms and researched registered EC products in LAC. We searched English- and Spanish-language sources to compile EC literature reviews. Thirty-seven affiliates (86%) responded to the survey, and 62% offer EC. Central and South American affiliates are more likely to offer EC than are Caribbean affiliates. Of those offering EC, 96% offer cut-up packets of oral contraceptives, whereas six affiliates offer dedicated products. Of those not offering EC, 79% believe it constitutes abortion. EC availability and support for the method appear to be increasing in LAC, and clearer distinctions between EC and abortion in medical and policy guidelines should increase acceptance further.