European Cross-National Study About EC Use and Attitudes

A study published in the European Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care in 2013 sought to identify knowledge of and attitudes towards EC among women from five European countries. Sexually-active women from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom were asked about their use of and opinions on EC in an internet-based survey. Of the 7,170 women who completed the survey, 30% reported having had unprotected sexual intercourse during the past 12 months, and of these women, 24% reported having used EC. The most common reasons given for not using EC were not perceiving themselves to be at risk for pregnancy and not thinking of EC as an option. One-third of respondents indicated that they do not know how EC works, and several respondents expressed misconceptions about EC, such as that it can lead to infertility. 79% of women agreed that EC is a responsible choice to prevent unwanted pregnancy, but nearly one-third of women who used EC felt uncomfortable or judged when obtaining it. The authors conclude that EC is underutilized by three-quarters of the women surveyed, and women do not recognize that they may be at risk of pregnancy when contraception fails. Since there were still several misbeliefs about EC expressed among the women surveyed, the authors call for better education of the public on EC.