Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on publicly supported clinics providing contraceptive services in four US states

Jennifer Mueller, Guttmacher Institute Alicia VandeVusse, Guttmacher Institute Samira M. Sackietey, Guttmacher Institute Ava Braccia, Guttmacher Institute Jennifer J. Frost, Guttmacher Institute

First published on Contraception: X:

Abstract / Summary


The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted contraceptive service provision in the United States (US). We aimed to explore the impact of COVID-19 on the publicly supported family planning network at the provider level. This study adds to the literature documenting the challenges of the pandemic as well as how telehealth provision compares across time points.

Study Design

We conducted a survey among sexual and reproductive health (SRH) providers at 96 publicly supported clinics in four US states asking about two timepoints – one early in the pandemic and one later in the pandemic. We used descriptive statistics to summarize the data.


We found that almost one third of sites reduced contraceptive services because of the pandemic, with a few temporarily stopping contraceptive services altogether. More sites stopped provision of LARCs, Pap tests, and HPV vaccinations than other methods or services. We also found that sites expanded some practices to make them more accessible to patients, such as extending existing contraceptive prescriptions without consultations for established patients and expanding telehealth visits for contraceptive counseling. In addition, sites reported high utilization of telehealth to provide contraceptive services.


Understanding how service delivery changed due to the pandemic and how telehealth can be used to provide SRH services sheds light on how these networks can best support providers and patients in the face of unprecedented crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.


This study demonstrates that providers increased provision of telehealth for sexual and reproductive health care during the COVID-19 pandemic; policymakers in the United States should support continued reimbursement of telehealth care as well as resources to expand telehealth infrastructure. In addition, this study highlights the need for more research on telehealth quality.


United States