Monday, December 14, 2009

Family Planning and the Economic Down Turn.

From Guttmacher's enewsletter. This wouldn't be a problem if women had access to timely, inexpensive, non-discriminatory health care.

1. Two studies examine the recession’s impact on family planning centers and women’s childbearing desires
Publicly funded family planning centers are struggling to meet a growing need for subsidized contraceptive care—a need driven by more women wanting to postpone childbearing duringtough economic times (see next paragraph). This surge in demand is straining already limited resources and is exacerbated by more women losing employer-based insurance coverage, according to a December 2009 Guttmacher report, "A Real-Time Look at the Impact of the Recession on Publicly Funded Family Planning Centers." Two-thirds of responding centers reported an increase in the number of clients seeking contraceptive services between the first quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009, and more than four in five reported an increase in the number of clients who are poor or low-income and therefore eligible for free or reduced-fee care. In addition, nearly two-thirds reported a decline in the number of clients who are able to pay the full fee for services. According to the new report, some family planning centers have been able to expand their hours of operation to meet the growing need. Unfortunately, many more centers have been forced to cut back on services due to budgetary constraints.
An earlier Guttmacher study conducted in July and August 2009 found that nearly half of women surveyed want to delay pregnancy or limit the number of children they have—and for about half of these women, the recession has heightened the focus on effective contraceptive use. For many women, economic hardship means having to skimp on their contraceptive use, for example, by stretching their monthly supply of pills or shifting to a less expensive method—or not using birth control at all—in order to save money. Nearly one in four women have put off a gynecologic or birth control visit in the past year to save money, and the same proportion report having a harder time paying for birth control than they did in the past, according to "A Real-Time Look at the Impact of the Recession on Women’s Family Planning and Pregnancy Decisions."

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