Since 2007, a number of organizations have partnered in an annual worldwide campaign centering around a global vision: a world in which every pregnancy is wanted. September 26this World Contraception Day; the mission is to improve awareness of contraception and enable young people—all around the world—to make informed choices regarding their sexual and reproductive health. What a vital mission!
Fortunately, when we look around the world, committed individuals and organizations have made information about effective contraception and access to it much more prevalent; indeed, there’s a lot to celebrate globally. Worldwide, increased access to effective contraception enables more people to plan their pregnancies, resulting in lower rates of maternal mortality, newborn and child mortality, and in healthier families and communities.
Unfortunately, I’m concerned about what’s happening—and what’s going to happen—right here in the U.S. The recent changes to Title X are making access to accurate information and access to contraception much more challenging for many Americans, especially those with the most limited financial resources.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, “The Trump administration has punched a massive hole in the nation’s safety-net family planning program…It’s still too early to fully grasp the impact of the new regulations—collectively referred to as the domestic gag rule—governing the Title X program. But available records…indicate that it could be severe…These changes impose coercive standards of care on patients, subvert the nationwide network of family planning providers that Title X supports, and diminish access to affordable care…Each component of the new regulations is harmful. Taken together, the domestic gag rule is blatantly coercive and a violation of medical ethics and patients’ rights.”
Let’s pause this year on World Contraception Day to think about the importance of contraception and about all the behind-the-scenes framework that make reproductive autonomy possible: contraceptive choice, free from coercion; informed consent; confidentiality—especially for adolescents, but also for everyone; and evidence-based standards of care. If you’ve ever benefitted from this social framework, which people have worked so hard to create, I hope you’ll join me in committing to keeping it alive for future generations.
I’ll close with words by Melinda Gates, from her important book, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World.
“…No country in the last fifty years has emerged from poverty without expanding access to contraceptives…contraceptives are the greatest life-saving, poverty-ending, women-empowering innovation ever created.”
|The views expressed above are solely those of the author and not those of Planned Parenthood.|