Irish contraception and Crisis Pregnancy [ICCP] Study. A Survey of the General Population. Summary
Crisis pregnancy is a complex challenge for individuals and societies alike. Its prevention and management need to be informed by up-to-date and locally applicable information on knowledge, attitudes and behaviours concerning sexual practices and contraception. Studies of aspects of sexual health in Ireland offer the prospect of vastly increasing our understanding of the pattern of health behaviours in the area of sexuality and their relationship to both the attitudes/beliefs and socio-demographic characteristics of individuals. Such surveys can also provide guidelines on where and how to intervene to improve sexual health outcomes. They offer a benchmark against which to gauge success and to plan for future work in the area of sexual health promotion in Ireland. A number of recent Government initiatives have highlighted the need for national data on sexual health issues. In October 2001, the Government established the Crisis Pregnancy Agency (CPA). Its primary focus is the development of a strategy to deal with crisis pregnancy, and more specifically to provide for: • a reduction in the number of crisis pregnancies by the provision of education, advice and contraceptive services • a reduction in the number of women with crisis pregnancies who opt for abortion by offering services and supports which make other options more attractive • the provision of counselling and medical services after crisis pregnancy. (Statutory Instrument No. 446, 2001) Information on contraceptive and crisis pregnancy service availability and utilisation, and on antecedents of crisis pregnancy, is needed for the optimal planning and evaluation of services. Research findings can provide evidence-based recommendations for planning and development of appropriate initiatives.