What Happens the Morning after? The Costs and Benefits of Expanding Access to Emergency Contraception

Jeanne Lafortune, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Tal Gross, Columbia University
Corinne Low, Columbia University

Emergency contraception (EC) can prevent pregnancy after sex, but only if taken within 72 hours of intercourse. Over the past 15 years, access to EC has been expanded at both the state and federal level. This paper studies the impact of those policies. We find that expanded access to EC has had no statistically signifi cant eff ect on birth or abortion rates. Expansions of access, however, have changed the venue in which the drug is obtained, shifting its provision from hospital emergency departments to pharmacies. We find evidence that this shift may have led to a decrease in reports of sexual assault.

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Presented in Session 17: Issues in Funding and Delivering Reproductive Health Services