Advancing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health goes online only

International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health 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.


Forcibly displaced populations’ sexual and reproductive health needs must not be overlooked

At the end of 2013, more than 50 million people around the world had been forcibly displaced from their homes, an extraordinary number not seen since the end of the World War II. Among these people, myriad needs compete for—and deserve—action. Not least among them is ensuring their sexual and reproductive health...more


Few women use emergency contraceptive pills two decades after the method became available

A painted sign on the side of a building in the Henequenera zone of Yucatan, Mexico, advertises emergency contraception.
© 2005 Arlette Gautier, Courtesy of Photoshare

In many countries most women have never heard of or used emergency contraceptive pills. Although the method can help women avoid unplanned pregnancies, in 44 of 45 countries surveyed, fewer than 50% of women have ever heard of it and fewer than 6% have ever used it, according to a new study by Tia Palermo of Stony Brook University published in International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. 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...more


Good for business: Covering contraceptive care without cost-sharing is cost-neutral or even saves money

Some critics of the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage guarantee claim that it imposes a financial burden on employers or insurers. The available evidence, however, suggests strongly that coverage of contraception without patient out-of-pocket costs should not raise insurance costs and is likely cost-saving. That is because the cost of contraception is outweighed by the savings from averting unplanned pregnancies, as demonstrated by a significant body of research…more


New infographics: Increasing access to modern contraceptive methods is key but not enough to satisfy women's need for effective family planning

Our series of new infographics illustrate that satisfying demand for contraceptives to help women avoid unwanted pregnancies is essential. However, it is critical to understand why many women who want to avoid pregnancy are not using a modern contraceptive method to ensure that policies and programs are more responsive to women’s needs and have as great an impact as possible…more


States continue to enact abortion restrictions, but at a lower level than in the previous three years

States enacted 21 new abortion restrictions during the first half of 2014 So far this year, 13 states have adopted 21 new restrictions designed to limit access to abortion, about half the number (41) of similar restrictions that had been enacted by this point last year. These restrictions range from requirements that abortion providers have admitting privileges at local hospitals to bans on insurance coverage to limitations on medication abortion. At the same time, and building on momentum from last year, three states moved to protect access to abortion services, while four states and the District of Columbia took steps to improve access to other reproductive health services…more


Claim that most abortion clinics are located in black or Hispanic neighborhoods is false

Antiabortion activists often claim that most abortion clinics are located in predominantly black or Hispanic neighborhoods. However, this claim is false…more


Cost of abortion, provider harassment and limits on when providers offer services remain stable

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. New research shows relatively little change in any of these measures between 2008 and 2011–2012. The new analysis relies on data from the Guttmacher Institute’s 16th census of all known abortion providers in the United States…more


After Supreme Court ruling, focus shifts to how Obama administration and Congress will ensure contraceptive coverage for affected employees

© iStock Photo

The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday decided that closely held corporations that assert a religious objection do not have to cover contraceptive services and methods in their employer-sponsored health plans as required under the Affordable Care Act. The Court’s decision hinged on its assertion that there are other “less restrictive” ways for the government to achieve contraceptive coverage for affected employees. The onus is now on the Obama administration and Congress to find a way to ensure that these women and families can continue to enjoy the protection and benefits of the current federal contraceptive coverage policy...more

Also read the Supreme Court amicus brief the Institute filed in January...more


Improving child survival and maternal health requires range of interventions, including family planning

Despite impressive recent progress, an estimated 287,000 women worldwide still die from pregnancy-related causes every year and 6.6 million children do not live to see their 5th birthday. The vast majority of these deaths can be prevented by providing basic maternal and neonatal care and high-quality family planning services…more


Broadening access to LARC methods could help reduce rates of birth and abortion

PSRH logo A program that provided Title X–funded clinics in Colorado with additional financial support to facilitate patients’ access to LARC methods (IUDs and implants) and expand clinic capacity may have contributed to considerable declines in birthrates and abortion rates among low-income 15–24-year-old women, according to a new study by Sue Ricketts, of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, et al., published in Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health...more


New study documents reasons married women in developing nations who wish to avoid pregnancy do not use contraceptives

According to a new Guttmacher study, increasing women’s access to modern contraceptive methods alone will not satisfy their unmet need for contraception. 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 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…more


The June 2014 issue of Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health 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 the June 2014 issue.


Just the numbers: The impact of U.S. international family planning assistance

Thousands of women in poor countries would die from pregnancy-related complications if funding for U.S. international family planning and reproductive health assistance were significantly cut. Our fact sheet details the many benefits of the current U.S. investment as well as the negative impact of every $10 million decrease in the program...more


U.S. men need a range of services and counseling for much of their lives

National Men’s Health Week provides an opportunity to focus on men’s often-overlooked sexual and reproductive health needs. Just as is the case for women, men need a range of services and counseling for much of their lives, but real barriers to meeting their health needs remain, not the least of which is the lack of awareness that these needs exist. Help us highlight this situation by sharing our infographic…more

The typical American man experiences a 13-year gap between first sex and first child


Debate on ways to reduce U.S. abortion rate intensifies even as abortion rate continues to decline

A new Guttmacher policy analysis notes that, paradoxically, the sharp divide over the “means” to make abortion rare has only grown more contentious 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…more


Many U.S. women at risk of unintended pregnancy use withdrawal

One-third of women at risk of unintended pregnancy used withdrawal within the past 30 days, often in combination or rotation with more effective contraceptive methods. Among these women, the majority used withdrawal with a hormonal method (13%) or condoms (11%) within that time frame; only 12% reported using only withdrawal… more


The Guttmacher Institute names Marlene Riquelme as the first Cory L. Richards Scholar

The Guttmacher Institute is pleased to announce that Marlene O. Riquelme is the first recipient of The Cory L. Richards Memorial Scholarship. A Boston University graduate and former Peace Corps volunteer, Ms. Riquelme will use the scholarship to pursue a Masters in Public Health focused on sexuality and sexual and reproductive health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health…more


Treating complications from unsafe abortion drains scarce health resources in Rwanda

Health care worker in Rwanda
© 2013 Todd Shapera, Courtesy of Photoshare

A new study finds that approximately 18,000 Rwandan women required treatment for complications resulting from unsafe abortion in 2012. The estimated cost of treating these complications is $1.7 million—approximately 11% of the total spending on reproductive health—representing a significant drain on Rwanda's scarce health resources...more (français)


Help us get the facts out to protect contraceptive coverage: Please donate today

Donate button As the Supreme Court considers challenges to the federal contraceptive coverage guarantee, our research shows that access to affordable and effective contraceptives has never been more critical. That’s why we worked hard to put facts front and center on the contraceptive coverage cases heard by the Supreme Court. Please help us carry on the fight by supporting our work today.


The Guttmacher Institute mourns the passing
of Jeannie I. Rosoff, former President and CEO

Jeannie Rosoff 1924-2914 It is with great sadness that we announce that Jeannie I. Rosoff, one of the Guttmacher Institute’s founders and its second President and CEO, has died. She established and led our Washington, DC office starting in 1968 and went on to serve as the Institute’s president from 1978 to 1999. Her contributions to the Institute and the field are nothing short of momentous. A true visionary and brilliant strategist, Jeannie was one of the first in our field to recognize the power of gathering and using evidence to effect policy change. The Guttmacher Institute in particular, and all of those working to promote sexual and reproductive health worldwide, owe her a huge debt of gratitude…more


Call for papers on understudied populations

PSRH logo 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.


Ann M. Starrs to become Guttmacher’s next
President & CEO

The Guttmacher Institute’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Ann M. Starrs as the Institute’s next President & CEO. Ms. Starrs, who will assume the position in August, brings extensive experience in global reproductive, maternal and newborn health to her new position. Currently president of Family Care International, she is a leading spokesperson on maternal health policy and an influential advocate for the health and rights of women and adolescent girls worldwide...more


U.S. teen pregnancy rates reach historic lows

Teen pregnancy, birth and abortion rates have declined dramatically in the United States, reaching historic lows in 2010. The teen pregnancy rate dropped to 57.4 pregnancies per 1,000 teens, a 51% decline from the 1990 peak and a 15% decline in just two years. In the most recent period, pregnancy rates declined in every state, and among all racial and ethnic groups…more

U.S. teen pregnancy, birth and abortion rates have reach historic lows (2010 chart)


Tool that makes data on young people’s sexual health and rights more accessible now available in Spanish and French

Demystifying Data: A Guide to Using Evidence to Improve Young People's Sexual Health and Rights The Guttmacher Institute and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) have released Spanish and French language versions of Demystifying Data: A Guide to Using Evidence to Improve Young People’s Sexual Health and Rights. The publication, which is also available in English, is designed to be a resource for advocates, sexuality educators, young people, service providers and others working to advance the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people around the world...more (español, français)


U.S. women face longer period of risk for unintended pregnancy before beginning childbearing

The typical age at which teens first have sex has remained relatively stable over the past several decades, increasing slightly to 17.8 for women and 18.1 for men in the most recent cohort for whom data are available. However, the typical time between first sex and first birth has increased from three years for women born in 1940 to almost 10 years for women born in 1982…more

An American Woman's age at first sex has changed little


State policy trends: More supportive legislation, even as attacks on abortion rights continue

The 2014 legislative session got off to a fast start, with legislators introducing a combined 733 provisions related to sexual and reproductive health and rights. Significantly, some 64 provisions have been introduced to expand or protect access to abortion, more than had been introduced in any year in the last quarter century. However, as in previous years, state legislatures also continued to take aim at abortion rights, with 38 states introducing 303 provisions seeking to limit women’s access to care...more

Also see our analysis on state policy developments in 2013…more


Abortion coverage under the ACA: achieving transparency and truly informed consumer choice

Consumers purchasing health coverage through the marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have no easy way—and often no way at all—to find out whether a health plan covers abortion care, according to a new Guttmacher analysis. The analysis lays out how this lack of transparency can be addressed by the Obama administration, which has the authority to ensure health plan issuers make such information readily available to consumers nationwide...more


New report underscores critical importance of family planning programs and providers

Moving Forward Report Cover Image The highly successful U.S. family planning effort helps almost nine million disadvantaged women each year to plan their families and protect their health, while also substantially reducing rates of unintended pregnancy and saving taxpayers more than $10 billion. Our report synthesizes the most up-to-date data and analyses to illustrate the current and future importance of family planning programs and the safety-net providers at the heart of this effort...more

Also, our online tool allows users to create customized tables with data on the contraceptive needs and services within a given county or groups of counties in a state, including data on women in need of publicly funded contraceptive services and number of clients served by Title X-supported clinics…more


Unsafe abortion is widespread in Burkina Faso and jeopardizes women’s health and lives

Some 105,000 abortions occurred in Burkina Faso in 2012, the vast majority of which were clandestine procedures performed under unsafe conditions. Forty-three percent of women who had an unsafe abortion experienced complications serious enough to require treatment, but many of them did not get the medical care they needed...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.