Emergency oral contraception policy: the peruvian experience


  • Eduardo A. Pretell-Zárate Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia. Lima, Perú. Médico; profesor emérito, ex ministro de salud; expresidente de la Academia Nacional de Medicina.




Contraceptives, oral, Health public policy, Peru


Emergency oral contraception is part of the sexual and reproductive rights of women. In 2001, this health policy was incorporated into the Rules of the National Family Planning Program of the Ministry of Health, primarily to prevent unwanted pregnancy and its serious consequences, induced abortion and the high associated maternal mortality rate, which are major public health problems. Scientific research has confirmed that the main mechanism of action of levonorgestrel, component of emergency oral contraception (EOC) is to inhibit or delay ovulation, preventing fertilization of the egg; additionally, it increases the thickening of the cervical mucus, making the sperm migration more difficult. No study has found endometrial abnormalities that may interfere with the implantation of the fertilized egg or embryo development of an implanted egg. However, despite the support of medical science and legal backing, the EOC is available only to users with economic resources, but its use has not been fully implemented in public sector services, due to obstacles created by groups opposed to contraception under claim of an alleged abortive effect that has already been ruled out scientifically. This article describes the administrative experience and legal confrontations between groups of power that prevent the proper implementation of an emergency contraception policy in Peru.


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How to Cite

Pretell-Zárate EA. Emergency oral contraception policy: the peruvian experience. Rev Peru Med Exp Salud Publica [Internet]. 2014 Mar. 11 [cited 2024 Jun. 12];30(3). Available from: https://rpmesp.ins.gob.pe/index.php/rpmesp/article/view/288

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