Access to contraception: Where are we now?

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This review examines options for women’s access to contraception and notes continuing areas for improve-ment to reach women at risk for unintended pregnan-cy. The rate of unintended pregnancy in the United States is higher than that of most developed coun-tries. While the majority of women gain access to contraception during visits with their healthcare providers or at family planning clinics, women at risk for unin­tended pregnancy often are uninsured or underinsured and often do not have a regular primary/gynecology care provider. Alternative facilities such as emergency departments and urgent care facilities are options for reaching this population; however, these facilities often do not address contraceptive needs. Pharmacists in some states can provide sexual health counseling and prescribe contraception, helping to address barriers related to the increasing number of contraception des-erts—i.e., counties that lack a single clinic which offers a full range of contraceptive options. Online resources, including telehealth and online pharmacist–provided prescriptions, have the potential to improve contraception access for all; however, barriers related to cost and limited state participation remain.

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