Compliance with mandated emergency contraception in new mexico emergency departments

Eve Espey, Tony Ogburn, Larry Leeman, Elizabeth Buchen, Eva Angeli, Clifford Qualls

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective: New Mexico enacted a law in 2003 requiring that emergency departments (EDs) offer emergency contraception (EC) to survivors of sexual assault and that both doses be administered in the ED. This investigation sought to examine practices and knowledge of ED providers about EC in the setting of sexual assault. Methods: We visited hospitals in New Mexico from July 2005 to December 2005 and administered an 18-item questionnaire to three providers-a physician, a nurse, and a clerk-in the ED. The questionnaire included items related to characteristics of the hospital, knowledge of providers about EC and the law, and ED practices relevant to EC for sexual assault survivors as well as for women who had consensual unprotected intercourse. Results: Surveys were completed at 33 of 38 hospitals (87%). Overall, 52% of respondents reported that EC was routinely offered to sexual assault survivors, and 33% reported that both doses were administered in the ED. Forty-one percent of RNs, MDs, and clerks reported that EC was offered to sexual assault survivors who were minors regardless of age. Overall, 64% of respondents knew that EC may prevent pregnancy up to 72 hours after unprotected intercourse, and only 12% of respondents reported awareness of any requirements to offer EC to sexual assault survivors. Respondents reported that physicians in the ED more often routinely offered EC to sexual assault survivors (52%) than to women who requested it after consensual sex (20%). Thirty-three percent of respondents indicated parental consent was necessary for minors in the setting of sexual assault, although there is no requirement for parental notification in New Mexico. Conclusions: EDs in New Mexico are not universally complying with the law. Better dissemination of the law and education about EC could improve care of sexual assault survivors in New Mexico.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)619-623
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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