Access to Preferred Contraceptive Strategies in Iowa: A Longitudinal Qualitative Study of Effects of Shifts in Policy and Healthcare Contexts

Lori F. Frohwirth, Guttmacher Institute Megan L. Kavanaugh, Guttmacher Institute Ayana Douglas-Hall, Guttmacher Institute Katrina MacFarlane, Guttmacher Institute Cynthia Beavin, Guttmacher Institute

First published on Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved:

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Abstract / Summary

People's ability to use their desired contraception is necessary for reproductive autonomy. We conducted longitudinal in-depth interviews over two years with 34 women in Iowa who sought contraceptive and related care at publicly supported sites in 2018/2019 to understand how state-level shifts in funding for these services affected their access to contraception. Twenty-seven of 34 respondents faced cost, access, and quality barriers relevant to policy and health care contexts, and we assessed the overall level of impact of these on access to preferred contraception over the study period. Cost barriers such as high fees for visits and methods as well as restrictive or inadequate insurance coverage, and access barriers such as long appointment wait times were most common; barriers compounded one another. Policies that support funding for contraceptive care, and that limit the need to interact with health systems for routine care, can decrease vulnerability to barriers and increase reproductive autonomy.