April 2005

The politics of emergency contraception in the Arab world: Reflections on Western assumptions and the potential influence of religious and social factors

Wynn L, Foster A, Rouhana A, Trussell J. The politics of emergency contraception in the Arab world: Reflections on Western assumptions and the potential influence of religious and social factors. Harvard Health Policy Review. Spring 2005; 6(1):38-47. 

Dedicated emergency contraception pills (ECPs) have been introduced to the Arab world only in the past five years, making emergency contraception (EC) a relatively new reproductive health technology in the region. To date, little is known about the acceptability and the use of EC in the region. In this article, we critically examine Western assumptions regarding challenges to expanding EC access in the Arab world. We argue that these assumptions reflect broader stereotypes about the status of women and reproductive health in the Arab world. We speculate on some of the factors—religious, cultural, and political—which might contribute to debates over emergency contraceptive use in the Arab world.