• unwanted pregnancies;
  • abortion;
  • emergency contraception;
  • family planning methods

Purpose: To determine the methods used to prevent pregnancy by women seeking abortion of unwanted pregnancy, their knowledge and use of emergency contraception, and reasons for wanting the abortion.

Design: The sample was 144 randomly selected women, who requested abortion for termination of their pregnancies at two hospitals in Izmir, Turkey, during the study period.

Methods: A questionnaire was completed by the researcher in face-to-face interviews.

Findings: In this sample 43.8% had had previous abortions; 77.1% used some method of family planning; 7.0% used emergency contraceptives. The methods selected after unprotected sexual intercourse by these women included vaginal douche (37.5%), waiting to see whether the menstrual cycle would begin (27.0%), going to a hospital or maternal-child health center (24.3%), and two other alternatives (4.2%). One-fifth of the women said that, if they get pregnant again, they will have another abortion.

Conclusions: The number of unwanted pregnancies is high and many women seek abortions as a birth control method. Women in this sample needed information about effective methods for preventing pregnancy.