HealthDay News — All women should have unhindered and affordable access to contraception, but many barriers to care exist, Committee Opinion published in Obstetrics & Gynecology reported.
“Nearly all United States women who have ever had sexual intercourse have used some form of contraception at some point during their reproductive lives,” wrote researchers from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)’ Committee on Health Care for Underserved Women.
“However, multiple barriers prevent women from obtaining contraceptives or using them effectively and consistently.”
Knowledge deficits, including a lack of knowledge, misperceptions, and exaggerated concerns about safety; health-care providers may also have knowledge deficits, noted the researchers.
Unfavorable legal rulings and restrictive legislative measures can interfere with access to contraceptives for minors and adults, and impact the patient-physician relationship.
Cost and insurance coverage are also barriers to contraceptive use, but as the Affordable Care Act goes into effect, obstetrician-gynecologists should advocate for continued expansion of affordable contraceptive access.
Access could also be improved by allowing over-the-counter access to oral contraceptive pills. Other barriers include objections to contraception as an issue of conscience or religion, unnecessary medical practices that prevent easy initiation of contraception, institutional and payment barriers, and health-care inequalities.
“ACOG supports access to comprehensive contraceptive care and contraceptive methods as an integral component of women’s health care and is committed to encouraging and upholding policies and actions that ensure the availability of affordable and accessible contraceptive care and contraceptive methods,” wrote the researchers.