Advancing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

Making the pill available OTC should be part of a broader strategy to enhance contraceptive access

The evidence strongly supports making oral contraceptive pills available without a prescription, but any effort to do so should complement—rather than replace—policies to reduce barriers to contraceptive use, argues a new analysis in the Guttmacher Policy Review. In particular, moving the pill to over-the-counter (OTC) status should be done alongside important safeguards, such as ensuring insurance coverage for OTC contraceptives and not imposing medically unnecessary age restrictions...more


Despite being highly restricted, induced abortion is common in Nigeria

In Nigeria, induced abortion is permitted only when necessary to save a woman’s life, but still the procedure is common there. A new study by the Guttmacher Institute and the University of Ibadan finds that 1.25 million abortions were performed in the country in 2012, compared with the 610,000 abortions estimated to have occurred there in 1996. Most of these abortions were clandestine and many were unsafe. Unsafe abortion is a major contributor to Nigeria’s maternal mortality rate, which remains among the highest in the world…more


Cynthia Summers named Executive Vice President of the Guttmacher Institute

The Guttmacher Institute is pleased to announce that Cynthia Summers, DrPH, MPH, has been promoted to the position of Executive Vice President. Dr. Summers joined the Institute in September 2012 as Vice President for Communications & Publications, a role which she will continue to fulfill. In her three years with the organization, she has demonstrated extraordinary skills, vision and determination in a range of endeavors...more


Sexual and reproductive health and rights are key part of the SDGs

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will, to a significant degree, drive the allocation of global resources and determine policy priorities between now and 2030 on a range of important issues—including sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). An analysis in the Guttmacher Policy Review lays out the historical context and significance of this process for SRHR and argues that much more work remains to be done by all stakeholders...more

Development Goals Timeline


The September 2015 issue of International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health is now available

International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health The September 2015 issue of International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health is now available online. Click here to find out what's in this issue.


More U.S. women are using long-acting reversible contraceptive methods

U.S. women are increasingly turning to highly effective long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) methods, particularly IUDs. Women using IUDs and contraceptive implants accounted for about 9% of female contraceptive users in 2009, and this proportion rose to nearly 12% in 2012. Increases were seen across virtually all groups of women...more


As U.S. abortion restrictions mount, issue of self-induced abortion gains attention

The criminalization of self-induced abortion, as well as of pregnant and miscarrying women, does not advance women’s health or address the underlying societal and public health issues, argues a new analysis in the Guttmacher Policy Review. Rather than taking a punitive approach, policymakers should focus on expanding access to social and health services, including family planning services and safe abortion care…more


The Sustainable Development Goals and the Guttmacher-Lancet Commission

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will drive policy priorities between now and 2030 on a range of important issues. To help ensure the best possible outcome for sexual and reproductive health and rights, the Guttmacher Institute—working closely with numerous other experts in the field—is undertaking a two-pronged effort to define, measure and achieve key goals for this new UN development framework and beyond...more


Fewer U.S. women of reproductive age were uninsured in 2014

The percentage of women of reproductive age who were uninsured dropped sharply between 2013 and 2014, the first full year of implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The decrease among women aged 15–44 mirrors broader national trends. However, despite these improvements, significant disparities in insurance status remain among reproductive-age women based on their income and whether they live in a state that expanded Medicaid under the ACA...more


Proposed ban on abortion after 20 weeks is misguided and harms women’s health

The proposed federal ban on abortion at or after 20 weeks post-fertilization (equivalent to 22 weeks’ gestation) is harmful to women’s health and fundamentally misguided. The bill is premised on faulty science, would fall hardest on the most vulnerable women, and contains provisions that could lead to the targeting of abortion providers. Policymakers should instead work to help women prevent unintended pregnancy and access abortion care earlier in pregnancy...more


The September 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 September 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.


Hormonal IUDs are increasingly affordable for women following the ACA’s contraceptive coverage guarantee

Between 2012 and 2014, the percent of women who would pay no out-of-pocket costs for hormonal IUDs increased dramatically following the implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage guarantee. Contraceptive options with high upfront costs, such as highly effective IUDs, have been financially out of reach for many women in the United States. Our new study provides evidence that the ACA is effectively removing this cost barrier for a substantial proportion of women…more


More U.S. investment needed in Multipurpose Prevention Technologies

Women around the world, and especially in countries with high rates of HIV infection and pregnancy-related deaths, need better options to protect themselves against both pregnancy and STIs. However, some of the most promising new technologies to achieve that goal, known as multipurpose prevention technologies, are vastly underfunded, says a new analysis in the Guttmacher Policy Review...more


Health Affairs Blog: Quantifying Planned Parenthood’s critical role

The Guttmacher Institute received a request from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) regarding the publicly supported contraceptive care provided by Planned Parenthood health centers. In response, Guttmacher experts conducted special tabulations of existing data, which we sent to CBO and just published as a summary on the Health Affairs Blog. Our analysis shows unequivocally that for women in many areas of the country, losing Planned Parenthood would mean losing their chosen provider—and the only safety-net provider around.

Related: Guttmacher memo to the Congressional Budget Office, including data for each state...more


Nearly 7 million women each year treated for complications from unsafe abortion in developing countries

In 2012, an estimated 6.9 million women in developing regions were treated for complications resulting from unsafe abortions, according to new research by the Guttmacher Institute. This study, published in the latest issue of BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, highlights two alarming realities: the large number of women who experience complications from unsafe abortions and the significant costs that women, their households and governments incur when treating these complications…more


Thanks to ACA, more visits at Title X–supported family planning centers now paid for with insurance

Following the implementation of the ACA, more family planning visits at 32 safety-net centers supported by the Title X program are covered by insurance, finds a new analysis in the Guttmacher Policy Review. The trend is driven by increases in visits paid for by both Medicaid and private insurance. Overall, the fact that safety-net providers serve many clients who have insurance even as they remain indispensable for the uninsured is evidence of the enduring need for the Title X program…more

Please see below for additional resources on the impact of Title X at the state/county and national levels.


The impact of Title X at the national, state and county levels

Title X is the only federal grant program dedicated entirely to family planning and related preventive health care, serving 4.6 million clients in 2013 and helping women to avert one million unintended pregnancies. And yet, warns our expert Kinsey Hasstedt on the Health Affairs Blog, Congress wants to cut Title X funding—or even eliminate the program altogether. Read the full piece on why this vital program should be strengthened instead.

See also:

Research showing the impact of Title X-funded services, which served 4.6 million clients in 2013, helping women avoid one million unintended pregnancies, 501,000 unplanned births and 345,000 abortions.

Opinion piece in the New York Times on ensuring that all women have the means to make fundamental choices about whether and when to have children.

Individual graphics for all 50 states and the District of Columbia showing the services provided in each state, and the impact those services have.

The Institute’s online county table maker with data on contraceptive needs and services in a county or group of counties.

Fact sheet: Publicly Funded Family Planning Services


Adolescent women in developing regions need better sexual and reproductive health services

Throughout developing regions, many adolescent women struggle to get the sexual and reproductive health information and services they need, according to a new Guttmacher report that analyzes findings from 70 countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean. The report, Adolescent Women’s Need for and Use of Sexual and Reproductive Health Services in Developing Countries, found that, in the majority of countries with data available, at least 45% of unmarried, sexually active adolescent women have an unmet need for contraception...more

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.