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In the Clinic |


Elisabeth J. Woodhams, MD; and Melissa Gilliam, MD, MPH
Ann Intern Med. 2012;157(7):ITC4-1. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-157-7-201210020-01004
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Nearly half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended, and half of those will end in abortion, resulting in nearly 1.2 million abortions per year in the United States (1). Unintended pregnancy places significant emotional and financial burdens on the women and men involved, including negative effects on their families and children. Half of unintended pregnancies result from a contraceptive failure secondary to incorrect or inconsistent use or method failure; the other half results from nonuse of any method (2). More than 99% of women in the United States aged 15–44 years have used at least 1 form of contraception within their lifetimes, and 89% of reproductive-aged women are using a form of contraception right now. Undesired pregnancy is a preventable health problem, and use of contraception is a preventive health measure. Improved access and education for women of reproductive age may improve contraception uptake and continued use. Primary health care providers are uniquely situated to facilitate safe and effective contraceptive use.

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