Japan approved the use of low-dose oral contraceptives (OCs) in June
1999, after more than 35 years of debate. The debate leaves a legacy of misinformation
about and various sources of resistance to OCs. Benefits are expected to include
greater control for women over their fertility and a reduction in the high
rates of unplanned pregnancies and abortions. Successful implementation of
the new policy will require a new emphasis on women's health, including the
provision of accurate information about OCs and their associated adverse effects,
a women-centered approach to gynecological practice, and the promotion of
condoms as protection from sexually transmitted diseases, rather than as contraception
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