Advancing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

Health Affairs Blog: The case for advancing access to health coverage and care for immigrant women and families

A web of policy barriers to public and private insurance options effectively keeps millions of immigrant women and their families from affordable health coverage. This in turn makes them less able to obtain the basic health care—including sexual and reproductive health services—they need. Our new post on the Health Affairs Blog argues that removing these barriers would advance the health and economic well-being of immigrant women, their families and society as a whole...more


In Zimbabwe, adolescents lack access to essential health services

Significant numbers of adolescent women in Zimbabwe do not have the essential sexual and reproductive health information and services they need to prevent pregnancy and protect themselves from HIV. A new study released today in Harare by the Centre of Population Studies, University of Zimbabwe and the Guttmacher Institute, finds that approximately 57,000 Zimbabwean adolescents who are sexually active but want to avoid pregnancy are not using contraception and fewer than half of adolescents have comprehensive knowledge about HIV and AIDS...more


Religious exemptions in insurance coverage and the patient-clinician relationship

Religious exemptions to insurance coverage—like those enshrined by the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision—pose a serious threat to quality medical care, warns our new analysis published in the American Medical Association’s ethics journal, Virtual Mentor. For instance, from the perspective of physicians, such exemptions throw into question whether the services they provide and the prescriptions they write will actually be covered...more


Despite improvements, high levels of unintended pregnancy persist in Malawi

iStockPhoto - © africa924
Although substantial progress has been made, use of modern family planning is still low in Malawi: 40% of women who want to avoid pregnancy do not use modern contraception. This results in high levels of unintended pregnancy—more than half of all pregnancies were unintended in 2013—and a broad range of negative consequences for women, their families and the country’s healthcare system, according to a new report released today by the Guttmacher Institute and the Center for Social Research in Zomba, Malawi...more


Your gift is needed to protect women’s right to obtain the contraceptive method of their choice with no cost-sharing

According to Guttmacher research, millions of women are now getting birth control without paying anything out of pocket thanks to the ACA. Your support will help us continue building the case for contraceptive coverage without cost-sharing for all women. Please make a tax-deductible gift today!

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Multipurpose prevention technologies could significantly boost women’s sexual and reproductive health

New technologies currently under development that can simultaneously prevent pregnancy as well as protect against HIV and other STIs have the potential to greatly improve women’s sexual and reproductive health globally. A new article published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology outlines the advantages of MPTs and discusses challenges that need to be addressed to ensure successful introduction of these methods...more


U.S. publicly funded family planning effort provides critical preventive care

A new analysis shows just how vital publicly funded family planning care is to ensuring the long-term health of women and their families. The public investment in family planning services not only helps women and couples avoid unintended pregnancy and abortion, but also helps them avoid cervical cancer, HIV and other STIs, infertility, and preterm and low-birth-weight births—all while saving substantial public dollars...more

Click here for detailed appendix tables with state-level data.


Contraception drives decline in teen pregnancy—and expanded access to LARC methods could accelerate this trend

The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that pediatricians consider long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) methods—IUDs and hormonal implants—as first-line contraceptive choices for adolescents. Contraception is driving the long-term decline in U.S. teen pregnancy and highly effective LARC methods have the potential to help even more teens avoid unintended pregnancy...more


Government initiative in Ghana improves provision of safe abortion care

A government initiative in Ghana is helping improve comprehensive abortion care in the country, according to a new Guttmacher study published in Health Policy and Planning. The study found that healthcare providers who participated in the program were more likely to provide safe abortion and postabortion care than those who had not done so...more


In Bangladesh, unsafe abortion is common despite availability of safer pregnancy termination procedure

Women in rural village, southern Bangladesh, 2011
© Stephan Bachenheimer/World Bank (Video still)

Menstrual regulation, a procedure that uses manual vacuum aspiration to safely establish nonpregnancy after a missed period, has been part of Bangladesh’s national family planning program since 1979. It is legally allowed up to 10 weeks after a woman’s last period, and thus some women use it to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. Each year, however, hundreds of thousands of women in Bangladesh have abortion procedures that may endanger their health, according to a new study by Mizanur Rahman of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, et al published in International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Healthmore

International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health goes online only
Beginning in 2015, International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health will change from a print and online journal to exclusively an online journal. With this transition, articles will be made available online as soon as they are finalized, even if other articles scheduled for the same issue are still in progress.


The September 2014 special issue of Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health focused on long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC) methods is now available

PSRH logo Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health provides the latest peer-reviewed, policy-relevant research and analysis on sexual and reproductive health and rights in the United States and other developed countries. Click here to find out what's in our special September 2014 issue, which focuses on long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC) methods.

Call for papers on understudied populations
Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health will dedicate a special section of its December 2015 issue to exploring the sexual and reproductive health needs of understudied populations—individuals with disabilities, incarcerated persons, homeless men and women, military personnel and transgender people, to name but a few. The journal will consider original research and review articles (with a maximum length of 6,000 words), as well as commentaries (up to 3,500 words). The deadline for submission is January 31, 2015. Click here to learn more.


Privately insured women increasingly able to obtain contraceptives with no out-of-pocket costs

The Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage guarantee has had a substantial and rapid impact on eliminating out-of-pocket costs, thereby improving access to a range of methods. A new Guttmacher study shows that the proportion of privately insured U.S. women who paid zero dollars out of pocket for oral contraceptive pills increased from 15% in the fall of 2012 to 67% in the spring of 2014. Similar increases were seen for the vaginal ring, the injectable and the IUD...more

Also see our analysis on the Health Affairs Blog: "Birth Control Pills Should Be Available Over The Counter, But That’s No Substitute For Contraceptive Coverage."


New study finds that 40% of pregnancies worldwide are unintended

Of the 213 million pregnancies that occurred worldwide in 2012, 40%—about 85 million—were unintended, about the same proportion as in 2008, when 42% of all pregnancies globally were unintended. According to the new study, the proportion of pregnancies that are unintended varied considerably by region...more

Also see this study which finds increasing women’s access to modern contraceptive methods alone will not satisfy their unmet need for contraception and see our series of infographics illustrating the findings globally and by region.


Fully informed patient choice and consent must be central to expanding access to highly effective contraceptive methods

A new analysis in The Guttmacher Policy Review argues that efforts to expand access to highly effective long-acting, reversible contraceptive (LARC) methods in the United States must be grounded in the fundamental principle that all women and couples should be able to make fully informed childbearing decisions freely and for themselves. To do so, it is critical that we ensure unfettered access without unduly steering method choice. Achieving this delicate balance is especially important given the historical context of coercive practices related to contraception that most often targeted disadvantaged groups...more

For the full issue of the Guttmacher Policy Review, click here.


20 million U.S. women were in need of publicly funded family planning services in 2012

In 2012, publicly funded family planning services provided by safety-net health centers helped avert 1.5 million unintended pregnancies that would have resulted in more than 741,000 unplanned births and 510,000 abortions...more

Also see our new report on the critical importance of family planning programs and the safety-net providers at the heart of this effort...more


Most women in Cameroon who want to avoid pregnancy do not use modern contraception

A 17-year-old mother and her newborn daughter in their room in Northern Cameroon
© 2005 Rachel Hoy, Courtesy of Photoshare

Low levels of modern contraceptive use are taking a toll on women in Cameroon, their families and the country’s health care system. A new study, “Benefits of Meeting the Contraceptive Needs of Cameroonian Women,” released today in Yaoundé by the Institut de Formation et de Recherche Démographiques and the Guttmacher Institute found that in 2013, approximately 63% of sexually active Cameroonian women—2.3 million women—wanted to avoid pregnancy, but only 37% of these women were using a modern contraceptive method…more (En français)

The Guttmacher Institute gratefully acknowledges the general support it receives from individuals and foundations—including major grants from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and The David and Lucile Packard Foundation—which undergirds all of its work.