Key Points

  • A total of 6.2 million women received publicly supported contraceptive services from 10,700 clinics in the United States in 2015. Clinics funded by the federal Title X program served 3.8 million of these women. An estimated 2.4 million additional women received Medicaid-funded contraceptive services from private doctors.
  • In 2015, for family planning clinics overall, Planned Parenthood sites accounted for 6% of clinics and served 32% of all contraceptive clients, public health departments administered 21% of clinics and served 20% of clients, and federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) administered 54% of clinics and served 30% of clients. Hospital outpatient sites accounted for 8% of clinics and served 10% of clients, and other independent clinics represented 10% of total clinics and served 8% of clients.
  • Among Title X–funded family planning clinics, Planned Parenthood sites represented 13% of clinics and served 41% of all contraceptive clients, public health departments administered 48% of clinics and served 28% of clients, FQHCs accounted for 26% of clinics and served 19% of clients, hospital outpatient sites represented 4% of clinics and served 5% of clients, and other independent clinics accounted for 9% of total clinics and served 7% of clients.
  • In 2015, all publicly funded contraceptive services helped women prevent 1.9 million unintended pregnancies; 876,100 of these would have resulted in unplanned births and 628,600 in abortions. Without publicly funded contraceptive services, the rates of unintended pregnancies, unplanned births and abortions in the United States would have been 67% higher; the rates for teens would have been 102% higher.
  • Services provided by clinics that received Title X funding helped women avert 822,300 unintended pregnancies in 2015, thus preventing 387,200 unplanned births and 277,800 abortions. Without the services provided by Title X–funded clinics, the U.S. unintended pregnancy rate would have been 31% higher and the rate among teens would have been 44% higher.

National and state tables

TABLE 1. Number of clinics providing publicly supported contraceptive services and percentage change, by state—2001, 2006, 2010 and 2015

TABLE 2. Number of women receiving publicly supported contraceptive services, by state—2001, 2006, 2010 and 2015

TABLE 3. Number of clinics providing publicly funded contraceptive services, by clinic type, for all publicly funded clinics and for Title X–funded clinics—2001, 2010 and 2015 national summary and 2015 state detail

TABLE 4. Number of female contraceptive clients served at publicly funded clinics and at Title X–funded clinics, by clinic type—2001, 2010 and 2015 national summary and 2015 regional and state detail

TABLE 5. Number and distribution of clinics providing publicly funded contraceptive services and the number and distribution of female contraceptive clients served, by clinic type and Title X funding status, 2001, 2010 and 2015, and the percentage change in clinics and clients, 2001–2010 and 2010–2015

TABLE 6. Number of unintended pregnancies, unplanned births and abortions averted among clients served by all publicly supported providers and by Title Xfunded providers, by state, 2015

 TABLE 7. Number of teenage contraceptive clients served at publicly funded clinics, and the numbers of unintended pregnancies, unplanned births and abortions among teens averted by all publicly supported providers and by Title X–funded providers, by state, 2015 

METHODOLOGY

Clinics and clients served. We estimated the total number of women who received publicly supported contraceptive care in 2015 using multiple sources. To estimate contraceptive clients served at publicly supported clinics, we collected service data for 2015 for all agencies and clinics that provided publicly funded family planning services in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, and we used similar methodology and definitions as those used in previous surveys.1,3,4 For each clinic, we collected the total number of female contraceptive clients served in 2015, the number of those clients who were younger than age 20 and clinics’ Title X funding status.

We obtained clinic and client data from several federal sources. We received data for a large proportion of all clinics with Title X funding from the Office of Population Affairs (OPA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. We received data for all FQHCs from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). We received data from the Indian Health Service (IHS) for all IHS sites. The HRSA data were at the agency, not individual clinic, level, and we contacted each FQHC agency to obtain information on which specific sites provided contraceptive services and how to distribute the agency total among sites. For some FQHCs, data were also received from other federal (OPA or IHS) or agency-level sources, and this information was used to facilitate distribution of data among the appropriate sites. In other cases, no additional information was received, and FQHC agency-level data from HRSA were distributed evenly across sites that had been confirmed as providing contraceptive care. 

For sites that do not report to these federal sources, we requested data from either state-level reporting entities (typically state health departments) or from the individual organizations that administer one or several clinics. In total, we received data for 90% of the 10,708 clinics known to be providing publicly funded contraceptive services in 2015. For the 10% of clinics for which no 2015 data were received, we estimated the number of contraceptive clients as either the number that were served by that clinic in 2010 (461 sites) or by imputing a number based on the number of women served by similar clinics (according to type and funding status) in a similar area (according to region and population density; 605 sites).

In addition to women served at clinics, many women went to private physicians for services that are supported by public dollars (typically Medicaid). To estimate the number of women receiving Medicaid-funded contraceptive services from private physicians, we used information on payment and source of care for contraceptive services reported by respondents to the 2011–2015 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG).5

Numbers of unintended events averted. We estimated the numbers of unintended pregnancies, unplanned births and abortions that were averted by the provision of publicly funded contraceptive care in 2015 using a methodology similar to that used for previous estimates.6 We began with the number of women who received publicly supported contraceptive care in 2015. We examined the current mix of contraceptive methods used by these women and compared it with a hypothetical mix of contraceptive methods that would likely be used by these same women in the absence of publicly funded care. To calculate this hypothetical mix, we used the 2011–2015 NSFG to look at the mix of methods currently used by similar women who did not obtain publicly supported care in the prior 12 months but who were in need of publicly funded contraceptive services (see definition above). 

We calculated the number of unintended pregnancies that would have occurred among each group (the group currently using publicly funded services and the hypothetical group without access to publicly funded care), based on the current and hypothetical method mix for each group and updated failure rates7 for each method. We adjusted the proportion of contraceptive failures expected among method users to be consistent with actual national numbers of unintended pregnancies occurring among contraceptive users. We then estimated the additional pregnancies that would have occurred in the absence of services by subtracting the number of unintended pregnancies expected to occur among actual service users from the number of unintended pregnancies expected among the hypothetical group. From this we estimated the annual number of unintended pregnancies that were prevented per 1,000 contraceptive clients and applied this to all contraceptive clients served. Finally, we classified the unintended pregnancies averted according to observed outcomes at the national level for specific subgroups of women. Overall, 47% of unintended pregnancies result in an unplanned birth, 34% in an abortion and 19% in a miscarriage; these percentages vary slightly for poor and low-income women and for teens.5,8

REFERENCES
 

1. Frost JJ, Zolna MR and Frohwirth L, Contraceptive Needs and Services, 2010, New York: Guttmacher Institute, 2013, https://www.guttmacher.org/report/contraceptive-needs-and-services-2010.

2. Frost JJ, Frohwirth LF and Zolna MR, Contraceptive Needs and Services, 2014 Update, New York: Guttmacher Institute, 2016, https://www.guttmacher.org/report/contraceptive-needs-and-services-2014-....

3. Guttmacher Institute, Contraceptive Needs and Services, 2006, New York: Guttmacher Institute, 2009, https://www.guttmacher.org/report/contraceptive-needs-and-services-2006.

4. Frost JJ, Frohwirth L and Purcell A, The availability and use of publicly funded family planning clinics: U.S. trends, 1994–2001, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2004, https://www.guttmacher.org/journals/psrh/2004/availability-and-use-publi....

5. Special analysis of data from the 2011–2015 National Survey of Family Growth, 2017.

6. Frost JJ et al., Contraceptive Needs and Services, 2010: Methodological Appendix, New York: Guttmacher Institute, 2013, https://www.guttmacher.org/report/contraceptive-needs-and-services-2010/....

7. Sundaram A et al., Contraceptive failure in the United States: estimates from the 2006–2010 National Survey of Family Growth, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2017, https://www.guttmacher.org/journals/psrh/2017/02/contraceptive-failure-u....