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Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 11/18/2011

Taking birth-control pills — but not for birth control

Oral contraceptives are quite the multi-taskers these days.

A new report finds that of the 11.2 million women ages 15 to 44 who use oral contraceptives, 86 percent do so primarily to prevent pregnancy, while the remaining 14 percent — 1.5 million women — take them solely for other reasons. Those reasons include easing menstrual cramps or pain, regulating menstrual cycles, relieving symptoms of endometriosis and controlling acne. The report further found that more than three quarters of a million women who take the pill report never having had sex.

The report was written and published by the nonprofit Guttmacher Institute (which works to “advance sexual and reproductive health and rights,” according to its Web site) and drawn from data collected through the federal National Survey of Family Growth.

The report could help clarify, or further muddy, the controversy over whether the federal government should require insurance companies to cover the cost of birth control, including oral contraceptives.

By  |  07:00 AM ET, 11/18/2011

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