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Contraceptive Needs and Services, 2012 Update (August 2014)

September 4, 2014 Comments off

Contraceptive Needs and Services, 2012 Update (PDF)
Source: Guttmacher Institute
From press release:

Between 2000 and 2012, the number of U.S. women in need of publicly funded family planning services increased by 22%, or 3.5 million women; in 2012, 20 million women were in need of publicly funded services. Women were considered to be “in need” if they were adults with a family income below 250% of the federal poverty level, or teens regardless of family income, and were sexually experienced and did not want to become pregnant. The increased need for publicly funded family planning services was driven primarily by a rise in the number of poor and low-income adult women (<250% of poverty) in need of contraceptive services and supplies.

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Demystifying Data: A Guide to Using Evidence to Improve Young People’s Sexual Health and Rights

August 22, 2014 Comments off

Demystifying Data: A Guide to Using Evidence to Improve Young People’s Sexual Health and Rights (PDF)
Source: Guttmacher Institute

The guide aims to help health care providers, educators and advocates in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights to better understand and use evidence on adolescents’ knowledge and behaviors. The guide provides demographic and socioeconomic information about adolescents, as well as measures of their access to, need for, and use of sexual and reproductive health information and services. It is ultimately designed to provide professionals in the field with information they can use to argue effectively for and design policies and programs to meet young people’s needs for sexual and reproductive health, education and services, and information on sexual and reproductive rights.

Presenting the latest available data for 30 countries, the guide explains the practical meaning of the data in clear, nontechnical language. The guide can help those working with young people to bring about much-needed change, including
• provision of comprehensive sexuality education; increased access to sexual and reproductive health services;
• improved policies to protect the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people; and
• increased understanding of where the need is greatest in order to focus efforts on the most vulnerable young people.

Two Decades After Emergency Contraceptive Pills Became Available, Few Women Use Them

July 24, 2014 Comments off

Two Decades After Emergency Contraceptive Pills Became Available, Few Women Use Them
Source: Guttmacher Institute

In many developing countries, most women have never heard of or used emergency contraceptive pills, according to “Knowledge and Use of Emergency Contraception: A Multicountry Analysis,” by Tia Palermo of Stony Brook University. Although the method can help women avoid unplanned pregnancies, in every country surveyed but Colombia, fewer than 50% of women have ever heard of it and fewer than 6% have ever used it. In general, the more educated women were or the wealthier they were, the more likely they were to have known about or used emergency contraception.

The researchers analyzed national survey data from 2000–2010 of women aged 15–49 in 45 countries in four regions.Women’s knowledge and use of the method varied widely within each region. In Latin America and the Caribbean, for example, Colombia had the highest proportions of women who knew about the method (66%) and had used it (12%), while Haiti had the lowest (13% and 0.4%, respectively).

Wide ranges in knowledge and use were also seen in the other three regions. In Africa, women’s awareness of emergency contraception ranged from 2% in Chad to 40% in Kenya and use ranged from less than 0.1% in Chad to 4% in Ghana. In Asia, awareness ranged from 3% of women in Timor-Leste to 29% in the Maldives, and use ranged from a low of 0.1% (Cambodia, Nepal and Timor-Leste) to 0.9% (Pakistan). In Eastern Europe and West Asia, Ukraine had the highest rates of awareness and use (49% and 6%, respectively), while Azerbaijan had the lowest (5% and 0.5%).

According to the authors, rates of emergency contraception use in the countries studied tended to be much lower than in countries where the method has been on the market longer, such as France and the United States (17% and 11%, respectively). The exceptionally high levels of knowledge and use found in Colombia, reflect, among other things, a commercial sector that makes nine brands of emergency contraceptive pills easily available.

The Cost of Abortion, When Providers Offer Services, and Harassment of Abortion Providers All Remained Stable Between 2008 And 2012

July 18, 2014 Comments off

The Cost of Abortion, When Providers Offer Services, and Harassment of Abortion Providers All Remained Stable Between 2008 And 2012
Source: Guttmacher Institute

Access to abortion services is affected by a variety of factors, including the cost of the procedure, the gestational age limits at which providers offer services and antiabortion harassment. According to “Secondary Measures of Access to Abortion Services in the U.S., 2011-2012: Gestational Age Limits, Cost and Harassment,” by Jenna Jerman and Rachel Jones of the Guttmacher Institute, there was relatively little change in any of these measures between 2008 and 2011–2012. The new analysis relies on data from the Institute’s 16th census of all known abortion providers in the United States.

In 2011–2012, the median cost of a surgical abortion at 10 weeks’ gestation was $495, and an early medication abortion cost $500. By comparison, the inflation-adjusted charge in 2009 for the same procedures was $503 and $524, respectively. The cost varied by facility size: facilities with the largest caseloads charged the least ($450), while those that performed fewer than 30 procedures per year charged the most ($650). Because women were more likely to obtain abortions at facilities that charged less, on average, women paid $480 for a surgical procedure at 10 weeks in 2011–2012, compared with $483 in 2009 (adjusted for inflation).

New Study Documents Reasons Married Women in Developing Nations Who Wish To Avoid Pregnancy Do Not Use Contraceptives

June 24, 2014 Comments off

New Study Documents Reasons Married Women in Developing Nations Who Wish To Avoid Pregnancy Do Not Use Contraceptives
Source: Guttmacher Institute

Increasing women’s access to modern contraceptive methods alone will not satisfy their unmet need for contraception, according to “Reasons for Contraceptive Nonuse Among Women Having Unmet Need for Contraception in Developing Countries,” a new study by Gilda Sedgh and Rubina Hussain of the Guttmacher Institute. The most common reasons married women give for not using a contraceptive method—despite wanting to avoid a pregnancy—have less to do with whether they can obtain contraceptives and much more to do with concerns about possible health risks and side effects or their belief that they don’t have sex frequently enough to warrant using a method.

Among married women who were not using contraceptives, on average 4-8% of those in Asia, Africa and Latin America attributed their non-use to lack of access. However, in a few countries, lack of access was a significant barrier. This reason for nonuse was cited by 18–23% of women in Benin, Cameroon, Congo-Brazzaville, Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea, and by 17% of women in the Philippines (more than twice the proportion of women in any other Asian country).

The researchers found that 23–28% of married women in all three regions who had an unmet need for contraception said they were not using a method because they had experienced or were worried about side effects or health risks. These concerns were especially prevalent in Southeastern Asia (36%) and Eastern Africa (32%). Concerns about side effects and health risks were significantly more common in countries with high levels of unmet need than in countries with the lowest levels of unmet need.

Debate on Ways to Reduce U.S. Abortion Rate Intensifies Even as Abortion Rate Continues to Decline

June 18, 2014 Comments off

Debate on Ways to Reduce U.S. Abortion Rate Intensifies Even as Abortion Rate Continues to Decline
Source: Guttmacher Institute

A new Guttmacher policy analysis notes that, paradoxically, the sharp divide over the means to make abortion rare has only grown more pronounced even as the U.S. abortion rate in 2011 reached its lowest level since 1973. The debate centers on whether the United States should strive to reduce abortion at all costs, or focus instead on reducing the need for it.

“The rival policy approaches of the antiabortion and prochoice movements have become mutually exclusive,” says Joerg Dreweke, author of the analysis. “Antiabortion activists, starting in 2011, have enacted an unprecedented wave of coercive state laws that will likely force growing numbers of women to give birth rather than end an unwanted pregnancy. By contrast, reproductive health advocates back policies like the Affordable Care Act that expand access to contraceptive services to help women prevent unintended pregnancies in the first place, along with the abortions that often follow.”

The analysis details the opposing explanations of why the U.S. abortion rate declined 13% between 2008 and 2011. Antiabortion activists argued that state-level abortion restrictions were responsible and dismissed the idea of contraception playing a role. However, not only did the abortion decline mostly predate the wave of new abortion restrictions, but it was also accompanied by a steep drop in the birthrate, indicating that pregnancy was down overall. This leads to the conclusion that improved contraceptive use, including use of highly effective methods like the IUD and implant, was likely the main driver of the abortion decline by helping to reduce women’s need for the service.

Fact Sheet: American Teens’ Sexual and Reproductive Health

June 11, 2014 Comments off

Fact Sheet: American Teens’ Sexual and Reproductive Health
Source: Guttmacher Institute

•Fewer than 2% of adolescents have had sex by the time they reach their 12th birthday. But adolescence is a time of rapid change. Only 16% of teens have had sex by age 15, compared with one-third of those aged 16, nearly half (48%) of those aged 17, 61% of 18-year-olds and 71% of 19-year-olds. There is little difference by gender in the timing of first sex.
•On average, young people have sex for the first time at about age 17, but they do not marry until their mid-20s.[3] This means that young adults may be at increased risk for unintended pregnancy and STIs for nearly a decade or longer.
•Teens are waiting longer to have sex than they did in the recent past. In 2006–2008, some 11% of never-married females aged 15–19 and 14% of never-married males in that age-group had had sex before age 15, compared with 19% and 21%, respectively, in 1995.

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