The Impact of Policy Changes from the Perspective of Providers of Family Planning Care in the US: Results from a Qualitative Study

Alicia VandeVusse, Guttmacher Institute Jennifer Mueller, Guttmacher Institute Marielle Kirstein, Guttmacher Institute Philicia Castillo, Guttmacher Institute Megan L. Kavanaugh, Guttmacher Institute

First published on Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters:

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Abstract / Summary

In recent years, there have been several state and federal policies that have disrupted access to publicly supported family planning care in the United States, including the 2019 rule that altered the federal Title X family planning program. In late 2020, we conducted in-depth interviews with health care providers from 55 facilities providing family planning care in Arizona, Iowa, and Wisconsin with the aim of learning how sites were affected by policy changes. We identified perceived effects on clinic finances, patient confidentiality, contraceptive counselling and service provision, and options counselling resulting from state and federal policy changes. Some clinics lost funding and had to pass some of the cost of services on to patients, raising new confidentiality concerns and creating new burdens on staff to carry out financial counselling with patients. Other sites had to grapple with restrictions on the pregnancy options counselling that they could provide, concentrate counselling on fertility awareness-based methods, and increase efforts to include parents/guardians in the care of adolescent patients. State and federal policies impact how publicly supported family planning care is provided, and compromise efforts to provide patient-centred care.