Advancing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
 
media center

Contraceptive Use
in the United States

Guttmacher Expert Statements

Susan Cohen

Susan Cohen
Director of
Government Affairs

PROMOTING ACCESS TO CONTRACEPTIVES IS SOUND PUBLIC POLICY

“Promoting access to contraceptive services and counseling is sound public policy—helping women to plan and space their births averts negative health outcomes for women and their families.”

BROAD APPROACH NEEDED TO ADDRESS REASONS FOR INEFFECTIVE CONTRACEPTIVE USE

“Many women who do not want to get pregnant practice contraception poorly or not at all. A range of reasons explain this seeming contradiction, including personal beliefs, fears about side effects, partner influences and problems in the contraceptive care system. Helping women prevent unintended pregnancy requires a broad-based approach that addresses many of these issues.”

Adam Sonfield

Adam Sonfield
Senior Public Policy Associate

CONTRACEPTIVE USE IMPROVES HEALTH

“One of the most powerful ways that we can improve the health and well-being of women and their families is to make contraception easier and more affordable to use.”

INSURANCE COVERAGE OF CONTRACEPTIVES IS A LOW-COST SOLUTION

“Although cost can be a daunting barrier to effective contraceptive use on the part of individual women, the evidence strongly suggests that insurance coverage of contraceptive services and supplies without cost-sharing is a low-cost or even cost-saving means of helping women overcome this obstacle.”

Rachel Jones

Rachel Jones
Senior Research Associate

RELIGIOUS WOMEN USE MODERN CONTRACEPTIVES

“There are more than 60 million women of reproductive age in the United States, and virtually all of them, regardless of religious affiliation, will use a modern contraceptive method in their lives. Policies that make methods more affordable and easier to use are not just sound public health policy—they also reflect the needs and desires of the vast majority of American women who hold a wide range of religious beliefs.”

NONCONTRACEPTIVE BENEFITS OF ORAL CONTRACEPTIVE PILLS

“We’re just beginning to discover the extent to which women use hormonal contraceptives for purposes other than pregnancy prevention. One example is oral contraceptive pills—about 14% of pill users take them solely for noncontraceptive purposes, including menstrual pain relief.”


Lawrence Finer
Director of Domestic Research

CONTRACEPTION IS HIGHLY EFFECTIVE

“Contraception is highly effective. The 65% of women who use contraceptives consistently and correctly account for just 5% of the unintended pregnancies in the United States each year.”

HIGHLY EFFECTIVE METHODS ARE KEY TO REDUCING UNINTENDED PREGNANCY

“Helping women obtain and use the most highly effective methods of contraception, which may have high up-front costs, can have a real impact in reducing unintended pregnancy.”

DISPARITIES IN UNINTENDED PREGNANCY

“Disparities in unintended pregnancy rates between poor and higher-income women reflect broader disparities in access to health care. All women have the right to the range of reproductive health services and contraceptive methods they need to plan the pregnancies they want and prevent the ones they don’t.”

CONSEQUENCES OF UNINTENDED PREGNANCY

“The importance of avoiding unintended pregnancy goes far beyond issues of convenience. A range of negative health, economic and relationship consequences that profoundly impact women and their families can occur when pregnancies are not planned.”