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B. The Best Kept Secret

Delbanco: Emergency contraception is referred to as the best kept secret.

Narrator: This is Science Today. There's a birth control method that's effective and safe that many people don't know about, according to public health expert Suzanne Delbanco of the University of California, Berkeley. It's called "emergency contraception."

Delbanco: Most of the time today when you hear that term, people are referring to the use of high-dose oral contraceptives used after unprotected intercourse to prevent pregnancy.

Narrator: Another name for it is the "morning after pill." Surprisingly, obstetricians and gynecologists know about it but don't talk about it.

Delbanco: Although they're all incredibly familiar with this as a method, and they wholly endorse it as far as its safety and effectiveness goes, they rarely tell their patients.

Narrator: Delbanco says that women who know about it tend to be graduates of four-year universities, where the idea is promoted to students.

Delbanco: And women who are older tend to know about it, I think mostly because they've been around longer and have had a greater chance to hear about this as a contraceptive alternative. So what we see is the need for the public to be informed about it so they can demand this as a service when they need it.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Steve Tokar.