Morning-after pill use up to 1 in 9 younger women

Saturday - 2/16/2013, 4:08am EST

This undated image made available by Teva Women's Health shows the packaging for their Plan B One-Step (levonorgestrel) tablet, one of the brands known as the "morning-after pill." About 1 in 9 younger women who've had sex have taken the morning-after pill, according to the first government report to focus on use of emergency contraception since it was approved in 1998. At least five versions of the morning-after pills are sold in the United States. The results of the study were released Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (AP Photo/Teva Women's Health)

MIKE STOBBE
AP Medical Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- About 1 in 9 younger women have used the morning-after pill after sex, according to the first government report to focus on emergency contraception since its approval 15 years ago.

The results come from a survey of females ages 15 to 44. Eleven percent of those who'd had sex reported using a morning-after pill. That's up from 4 percent in 2002, only a few years after the pills went on the market and adults still needed a prescription.

The increased popularity is probably because it is easier to get now and because of media coverage of controversial efforts to lift the age limit for over-the-counter sales, experts said. A prescription is still required for those younger than 17 so it is still sold from behind pharmacy counters.

In the study, half the women who used the pills said they did it because they'd had unprotected sex. Most of the rest cited a broken condom or worries that the birth control method they used had failed.

White women and more educated women use it the most, the research showed. That's not surprising, said James Trussell, a Princeton University researcher who's studied the subject.

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