Purpose: To educate youth about the existence, safety, and effectiveness of emergency contraception and help them increase awareness of and access to EC in their community
Materials: Newsprint; markers; tape; two signs—one that says "Myth" and another that says "Fact"; Leader's resource; for each student, a copy of the EC fact sheet; and (optional) survey handout for each student
Time: 50 minutes
Planning Notes: Read the fact sheet and the leader's resource to prepare to lead this session. Tape the "Myth" and "Fact" signs at opposite ends of the room.
- Ask the group if anyone knows of a method to prevent pregnancy after a couple has had unprotected sexual intercourse, if a contraceptive method fails, or if a young woman has been raped.
- Explain that many people, even adult women and some health care providers do not know about emergency contraception, or harbor some misperceptions about it. Ask the group to stand. You are going to read a series of statements about emergency contraception. If they believe the statement is true, ask them to move to stand under the sign that says 'Fact.' If they believe the statement is false, ask them to stand under the sign that says 'Myth'. Check to see if there are any questions.
- Read the statements on the Leader's resource. Ask the group standing under the incorrect sign first to explain why they chose that answer. Then ask the group standing under the correct answer to explain why they chose their answer. Be sure to gently dispel any continuing myths and stress that the goal of the activity is to become more educated about the topic, not to embarrass anyone.
- After the activity, ask everyone to take a seat again. Ask what they learned about ECs that surprised them. Do they know anyone in their family, or school, or community that knows about ECs or where to get them?
- Brainstorm the benefits of ECs and also some of the concerns about them. See if the group can reach consensus that ECs could be an important resource for all young people to know about.
- Divide the group into smaller groups of 5 or 6. Give each group a sheet of newsprint and a marker and ask them to come up with ways to raise awareness about ECs among teens and ways to increase access to ECs.
- After all groups have reported their suggestions, you may want to ask if anyone is interested in implementing any of the ideas? If so, what would the necessary steps be to make it happen in their school, clinic, or community? Small Action Teams can be formed, and the groups can report on progress they make toward their goal at a future meeting.
- Distribute the teen pamphlet.
- What did you learn about emergency contraception that surprised you?
- Do you think it is important for all teens to have accurate information about emergency contraception? Why or why not?
- Do you think, considering what you have learned, that emergency contraceptive pills should be available as over-the-counter medications for people of all ages? Why or why not?
Optional Activities: Take Action! Demand Your Right to Emergency Contraception!
- Ask teens to write a column for the school newspaper.
- Ask teens to find out if the school health center provides emergency contraception. If not, start a petition or organize a demonstration to demand it or make a presentation to your class or student government meeting.
- Work to assess the availability of emergency contraception at local drug stores. Organize a group of teens to interview local pharmacists about their knowledge and attitudes. Use the survey questions on the handout for the interviews.
Click here for the Leader's resource.
Click here for the Survey handout.