Tomorrow is World Contraception Day – an opportunity to lift up the essential role birth control plays in our everyday lives. Although together we have made great progress over the past two decades in expanding birth control method and coverage options, our current environment has exposed how far we still must go to ensure access and contraceptive justice for all.
Recent reports of horrific forced sterilizations in ICE detention centers harken us back to our dark history of government sanctioned abuses fueled by racism. In July, the Supreme Court ruled that bosses can exclude birth control coverage from employee insurance plans “for religious or moral reasons” – letting regressive political agendas trump women’s health. The passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruther Bader Ginsberg – a revered champion for equality – has also opened the door for further attacks on reproductive health and bodily autonomy.
These devastating events have occurred as we continue to navigate through the COVID-19 crisis. The pandemic has highlighted the structural inequities that disproportionately impact the health and well-being of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. A recent report by the Guttmacher Institute revealed that 29 percent of white women, 38 percent of Black women and 45 percent of Latinas have faced difficulties accessing birth control during the public health emergency.
We can no longer accept these disparities. Instead we must take collective and urgent action to ensure that a person’s race is no longer a barrier to achieving optimal sexual and reproductive health outcomes.
To meet this moment and address health inequities and challenges to birth control access that remain, Essential Access Health will continue to:
Increase access to quality contraceptive care through telehealth + other innovative care models
Enhance the capacity of the health care work force to provide patient-centered sexual + reproductive health services