Advancing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

Laws affecting reproductive health and rights:
State trends at midyear, 2015

States have enacted 51 new abortion restrictions in just the first half of 2015. Since 2010, 282 new abortion restrictions have been enacted. Although states have adopted a wide range of restrictions so far this year, much of the attention has focused on four areas: waiting periods, abortions after the first trimester, medication abortion and TRAP provisions…more


Supreme Court ruling protects Affordable Care Act, including its significant gains for women’s health

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that the ACA’s subsidies for insurance plans purchased on federally facilitated marketplaces are legal. This decision avoids what could have been significant disruptions to insurance markets in about three dozen states, which in turn could have potentially resulted in large numbers of Americans losing insurance coverage. For more information, please see:

Guttmacher Institute Twitter feed
ACA Effect: Sharp increase in women obtaining contraceptives without cost-sharing
The many ways the ACA benefits women’s health

The Affordable Care Act's contraceptive coverage guarantee is working 490px


U.S. abortion reporting systems should be strengthened, not subverted to promote antiabortion agenda

The current U.S. abortion surveillance system yields reliable statistics, thanks to the joint efforts of state and federal governments and the Guttmacher Institute. Still, a new analysis in the Guttmacher Policy Review argues that state and federal governments should collect data in a more complete and timely manner and that abortion reporting systems must be focused solely on legitimate public health purposes…more


The June 2015 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 our June 2015 issue.

Call for papers: The December 2016 issue of Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health will contain a special section devoted to abortion in the United States and other developed countries. We welcome submissions on topics such as the incidence of abortion, women’s experiences seeking and obtaining the procedure, service provision and policy-related issues. Deadline for submission is November 30, 2015.

Our author guidelines and instructions for submitting a manuscript may be found here.


Public health masters candidate Amandi Clarke named second recipient of Cory L. Richards Memorial Scholarship

The Guttmacher Institute is pleased to announce that Amandi Clarke is the recipient of the 2015 Cory L. Richards Memorial Scholarship. A graduate of George Washington University, Ms. Clarke will use the scholarship to complete her Masters in Public Health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. With a long history of involvement in advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights, Ms. Clarke stood out in an exceptionally strong field of more than 125 applicants...more


Exclusion of methods used by men from ACA contraceptive coverage policy is a serious oversight that must be fixed

The Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage guarantee requires most private health plans to cover the full range of contraceptive methods and services without out-of-pocket costs. However, the policy excludes vasectomies and male condoms, two widely used methods. A new analysis in the Guttmacher Policy Review discusses potential pathways to rectify this serious shortcoming...more

A Big Slice Of the Pie


Social conservatives ramp up efforts to re-impose the global gag rule and defund UNFPA

Attempts to curb U.S. international family planning assistance by re-imposing the global gag rule and defunding the UN Population Fund are back. Reinstating these anti-family planning policies would be devastating. But the threat of their return alone is already limiting the effectiveness of this important program, warns a new analysis in the Guttmacher Policy Review...more

Related: U.S. international family planning assistance helps prevent six million unintended pregnancies, averts 2.4 million abortions and saves the lives of 12,000 women...more


Health Affairs Blog: How Texas lawmakers continue to undermine women’s health

In 2013, one in five Texans had no health insurance of any kind, including 2.1 million adult women. Texas also consistently has lackluster health indicators—particularly with regard to sexual and reproductive health care. Yet, at seemingly every turn, state lawmakers continue to implement neglectful—or even hostile—policies, argues Guttmacher expert Kinsey Hasstedt in a new article published on the Health Affairs Blog...more


New federal guidance aims to improve contraceptive coverage

The Obama administration has issued expanded guidance for private health plans about how to implement the Affordable Care Act’s requirement to cover preventive care services—including the full range of contraceptive methods—without any out-of-pocket costs. Recent studies have shown that many insurance plans are not fully complying with the ACA. The guidance clarifies, among other key items, that coverage encompasses every distinct contraceptive method used by women...more


The HEAL for Immigrant Women and Families Act would remove harmful barriers to health coverage

Legislation reintroduced in April in the U.S. House of Representatives would significantly advance immigrants’ eligibility for health insurance coverage and access to health care—including sexual, reproductive and maternal health services. Currently, a patchwork of policies put in place over the past two decades has put affordable health coverage and care out of reach for many immigrants in the United States...more


School-based health centers must do more to address teen pregnancy

School-based health centers (SBHCs) are critical access points to health care for adolescents, especially those who are at high risk of unintended pregnancy and STIs. That is why policymakers and child health advocates must work to overcome barriers that keep many SBHCs from meeting students’ sexual and reproductive health needs. Case studies show how a number of centers have done so successfully...more


In Senegal, first-ever national study shows thousands of women injured by unsafe abortion each year

In Senegal, where abortion is highly restricted, clandestine abortions are common. According to the country’s first-ever national study of abortion, by Gilda Sedgh, of the Guttmacher Institute, et al., some 51,500 induced abortions were performed in 2012 and more than half resulted in complications. However, 42% of women who experienced complications did not receive needed care...more (français).

51,500 Senegalese women have an abortion each year


Transparency about abortion coverage still lacking, but achievable

Individuals purchasing coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplaces may have difficulty finding consistent, clear information on whether a plan includes or excludes abortion coverage. However, transparency about abortion coverage is both necessary and achievable. Our new analysis offers recommendations on how to achieve this goal, while also highlighting the need to make abortion coverage available to all U.S. women...more

25 states ban abortion coverage (with some exceptions) in private plance through marketplaces


Fertility desires and modern contraceptive use are changing among indigenous women in Ecuador

International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health The indigenous people of the Ecuadorian Amazon, among the last cultures in the world to practice almost exclusively natural fertility, appear to be moving toward lower birthrates, according to a new study from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, published in International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. Between 2001 and 2012, the total fertility rate among indigenous women in the area decreased from 7.9 to 7.0 births per woman. The percentage of indigenous women who desired another child fell from 48% to 40%...more


Investing in sexual and reproductive health is key to reaching global development goals

Policymakers involved in negotiating the post-2015 development agenda should heed the overwhelming evidence that investing in sexual and reproductive health is a highly effective strategy to improve global health and spur development. Crucially, contraceptive services have to be a core component of such investments as they boost the overall impact on maternal and newborn health—and do so at a lower cost than standalone approaches...more

Related: Commentaries by Guttmacher president and CEO Ann Starrs on and in The Guardian

Related: Full Adding It Up 2014 report and other resources


Unintended pregnancies cost federal and state governments $21 billion in 2010

Government expenditures on the births, abortions and miscarriages resulting from unintended pregnancies in the United States totaled $21 billion in 2010. In 19 states, public expenditures related to unintended pregnancies exceeded $400 million, with the largest expenditures in Texas, California, New York and Florida...more

Unintended pregnancies U.S. map of public costs


Teen pregnancy rates decline in many countries; U.S. lags behind

In recent decades, despite a considerable decline in teen pregnancy rates in most of the 21 countries with complete statistics, the United States still has the highest teen pregnancy rate among these countries, while the lowest rate is found in Switzerland. The proportion of teen pregnancies that end in abortion varies widely across the 21 countries, even though legal abortion is available on broad grounds in all of them…more


Sexual and reproductive health services fall far short of needs in developing regions

Adding It Up cover Our new report finds a staggering lack of basic sexual and reproductive health services in developing countries. Adding It Up: The Costs and Benefits of Investing in Sexual and Reproductive Health 2014, finds that currently 225 million women in developing countries want to avoid pregnancy, but are not using modern contraceptives. In addition, tens of millions of women do not receive the basic pregnancy and delivery care they need to protect their health and that of their newborns. The report documents the number of women who lack services, what it would cost to meet their needs, and the benefits of meeting these needs...more (español, français)

Click here for additional resources with information on the costs and benefits of investing in sexual and reproductive health, including fact sheets, executive summaries, infographics, videos and a slide show.

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.