It should come as no surprise that making contraception more accessible is key to empowering women. Simply put, when you give a woman access to contraception, you give her power—power over her body, her family planning journey, her today and tomorrow. With World Contraception Day fast approaching, we’re here to share why improving access to contraception matters now more than ever.
What is World Contraception Day?
Celebrated on September 26th every year, World Contraception Day is dedicated to improving awareness of the role contraception plays in enabling women around the world to make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health.
So, why should you care?
The better question is why shouldn’t you care?! Women’s reproductive care, and by extension contraception, applies to 50% of the world’s population (spoiler: it’s not “niche”).
Contraception is about more than preventing unwanted pregnancy. It allows women to chart their own path and plan for their future.
It’s time to de-stigmatize contraception, and improve and protect a woman’s rights to access it—no matter where she lives.
What are the benefits of contraception?
Young women’s access to contraception has shown higher education rates. Contraception access has resulted in more women graduating from colleges of their choice.
Access to the pill continues to allow women to plan whether they have children, thus increasing their investment, both time and money, in their education and careers.
When women are given choice and power in their reproductive journey, they are also given the opportunity to pursue careers. Since the pill came on the market, women’s wages grew more rapidly than women without access to the pill, resulting in substantially higher earnings by their 30s and 40s.
Empowering women by giving them access to contraception by age 20 reduces the probability that a woman, and by extension her family, will live in poverty.
Building for the Future
The legalization of contraception allowed more educated women to delay childbearing. When women have the power to decide when they have children, they’re born into households with more highly educated mothers, and less likely to live in poverty as adults.
World Contraception Day is just the beginning. Here’s why we’re fighting the good fight:
Access to affordable healthcare, and by extension contraception, should not be political.
But politicians and interest groups have been eroding the ACA protections for birth control since its introduction. And last year, SCOTUS upheld a Trump-era rule that employers could use “religious or moral objectives” to opt out of providing contraceptive coverage to employees. Dozens of other cases at the local, state, and federal levels continue to threaten reproductive health and rights, but we will always advocate for people to get the birth control they need without political interference.
Over 1 million women in the U.S. have to go to great lengths to access their preferred birth control method.
Of the 19 million+ women of reproductive age living in contraceptive deserts in the U.S., 1.3 million of them live in a county without a single health center offering the full range of methods. That means they either don’t get contraceptive care, or have to go to great lengths to access their preferred birth control method (read: find a babysitter, take time off work, and/or travel long distances).
Racial discrimination in contraception access remains a problem.
In a survey of Black women, 28% reported they had been encouraged to use one form of birth control when they preferred another, and 67% reported that they had experienced race-based discrimination when obtaining family planning services. As a result, Black women are 3x as likely and Hispanic women are 2x as likely as white women to experience an unintended pregnancy.
Uninsured women have even more limited access to contraception.
The rate of uninsured women in the US continues to rise, limiting their access to affordable contraception. Even for women who are insured, their employers can deny birth control coverage because of their personal beliefs.
Contraception is about more than preventing pregnancy.
Endometriosis, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, severe menstrual pain, uterine abnormalities, hormonal acne, migraines, Anemia, heavy menstrual bleeding... These are just a handful of the medical conditions women in the U.S. manage with birth control, in addition, of course, to pregnancy prevention.