National Advocates for Pregnant Women

How available are contraceptive services in America today?

  • 33.2 million women in the United States are in need of contraceptive services and supplies. Half of them need publicly supported contraceptive services because they have incomes under 250% of the federal poverty level (11.6 million women aged 20-44) or are sexually active teenagers (4.9 million)

  • In California alone, where C.R.A.C.K. is headquartered, 4,258,620 women are in need of contraceptive services and supplies. Of these, 2,205,920 women--including 536,330 teenagers--are in need of publicly supported contraceptive services

  • At least one million U.S. women with incomes below 250% of the federal poverty level are not using any form of contraception even though they are at risk of having an unintended pregnancy.

  • Title X publicly funded family planning clinics are able to serve only one-quarter of all American women in need of subsidized family planning services

  • Funding for Title X has not kept pace with inflation. In terms of constant dollars, the FY 1998 funding level of $203 million represented a 61% decrease since the FY 1980 funding level of $162 million.

  • Many private insurance companies fail to cover contraceptives to the same extent that they cover other prescription drugs devices and outpatient services. About 49% of large group insurance plans do not routinely cover any contraceptive methods.

  • Only four out of 10 women with employer-based health plans have coverage the five most commonly used reversible contraceptive methods (oral contraceptives, the IUD, diaphragm, Norplant® and Depo Provera®).

  • The need for Title X funding has increased dramatically, in part because of the increasing number of Americans without any public or private health insurance. The number of uninsured Americans has increased by 10 million over the last decade to 43 million people. Nineteen percent of women of childbearing age who have incomes below the federal poverty level do not have private health insurance or Medicaid.

  • Only 19 states require school based sexual education to include information about contraceptive care and 35% of school districts require that abstinence be taught as the only acceptable option outside of marriage.

  • Comprehensive sexuality education programs that provide information about both abstinence and contraception, teach communications skills, and provide access to family planning services are more likely both to persuade adolescents to delay the initiation of sexual intercourse and to lead to greater contraceptive use among teenagers when they become sexually active.

  • Despite the evidence in support of comprehensive sex education, the federal government has not only adopted the abstinence-only model as its sex education policy, it has also dramatically increased the resources devoted to such programs, appropriating a total of $102 million in federal funds for abstinence only programs for 2002.

  • Emergency contraception is an effective contraceptive pill taken after unprotected sex that can prevent a pregnancy, but is often deceptively characterized as an abortion method. Because of the lack of public awareness, education, and availability, only 1% of women of child-bearing age have used emergency contraception and only 11% of women have heard of it.

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