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Contraceptive Access Lags

Guttmacher Institute Study Documents Major Lags in Contraceptive Access Across the Nation; Planned Parenthood Calls on Legislators to Adopt Sound Public Health Policies



Reacting to a newly released Guttmacher Institute ranking of state-level efforts to ensure access to family planning, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) today called on state legislators to adopt policies that support family planning services and ensure access to contraception. Such policies, PPFA noted, would reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and the need for abortion. The Guttmacher study ranked Nebraska, North Dakota, Indiana, Ohio, and Utah lowest among the 50 states, finding they lag significantly in providing adequate access to contraceptive services.

"Access to family planning promotes healthy families, in which children are wanted and loved. It enables people to decide responsibly when to become parents that is why funding for family planning is so important," said PPFA President Cecile Richards. "Unfortunately, too many states fail women and their communities by contributing to the number of unintended pregnancies by enacting policies that hinder access to contraception."

The independent Guttmacher study assessed each state's commitment to helping women avoid unintended pregnancy by measuring access to contraception; laws and policies that either facilitate or hinder access to birth control and family planning information; and public funding for family planning and services between 1994 and 2001.

The report cites several states, including Alaska, California, Louisiana, Oregon, and South Carolina, that have made the most progress. PPFA applauded states that commit resources to family planning to ensure women have access to contraception and the information they need to use it correctly. Contraception is basic health care used by ninety-eight percent of American women during their lifetimes.

Nearly half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned. Pregnancies can occur when birth control methods fail or are used improperly, inconsistently, or not at all.

Numerous studies show that improved contraceptive access and availability would reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and the need for abortion. With more than 850 affiliate health centers nationwide, Planned Parenthood is committed to working to ensure access to family planning and other reproductive health services for all who need it.

To find out where your state ranks, please visit www.guttmacher.org.

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Contacts

Erin Kiernon, 202-973-4975
Andrea Hagelgans, 212-261-4652

Published: 02.28.06

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