Emergency contraceptives, indigent populations
Introduction: Indigent women are disproportionately affected by unwanted, unplanned pregnancies. Studies previously identified lack of knowledge about emergency contraception (EC) as a major deterrent from use. This study was performed to address three potential barriers to the use of EC in indigent populations: culture and religion, patient education, and cost. For the entirety of this study, EC refers to levonorgestrel (LNG).
Objectives: To determine the impact of culture and religion, patient education, and cost on EC use in the indigent population.
Methods: This study was a cross-sectional observational study to explore and investigate relationships between indigent populations and the use of EC. To be included in the study, participants had to be: at least 14 years old, female, and have an annual household income below the federal poverty line (FPL). Those excluded were less than 14 years old, male, and reported an annual household income above the FPL. A questionnaire consisting of 31 survey questions were utilized to assess the endpoints of the study. The study utilized both paper and electronic forms of the survey. Participants signed informed consent to enable them participate in the study. Out of 319 participants, 59 met all inclusion criteria and were used in statistical analyses.
Results:Based on Kruskal-Wallis results, religious groups’ acceptance of EC influenced indigent women’s decision to use it (p=0.016). Level of education also influenced women’s understanding of EC as an abortifacient and knowledge of when LNG is effective. Spearman rho revealed correlations between participants’ willingness to pay for EC or routine birth control and knowing that EC was an option (coefficient 0.391; p-value 0.005). There was also a correlation between the cost of EC and ultimate use (coefficient -0.603; p-value
Conclusion: Our research found that religious groups’ acceptance of EC use and knowledge about how LNG works does affect the decision to use EC. Neither cultural identification nor cost of EC appears to have a significant impact on the final decision to use.
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