Health

Women are switching their birth control methods after giving birth


OFFERAuren Robinson doesn’t want an unwanted pregnancy. So, after knowing that Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June — and read Justice Clarence Thomas’ agree with the opinion suggested that the court should also reconsider Griswold sues Connecticut, The 1965 ruling defending the right to contraception, she feared.

Robinson, a 34-year-old postdoctoral researcher, decided she didn’t want any chance the Court would handle Griswold when it comes back in session — especially since she lives and works in Michigan, a state where abortion rights are currently in limbo. Although her intrauterine device (IUD), a type Long-term reversible birth control, won’t have to be replaced for another year, she scheduled an appointment to have a new one fitted right away. “The beauty of the IUD is that it can last for 10 years,” she said. “It practically guarantees that I won’t get pregnant for the rest of my years — or most — of my reproductive years.” She thought to herself, “Why wait?”

Robinson is not the only woman seeking to maintain control of her reproductive health following the Supreme Court decision. Now that abortion is no longer an option or threatened in half of the US states, many people are taking steps they might not have to make sure they’re not pregnant — and make sure they don’t get pregnant. they are protected in the event that birth control methods become unavailable in their state. According to a new survey conducted by the Harris Poll on behalf of TIME, approximately 21% of U.S. women reported having changed their primary method of contraception in the previous month.

The poll, which surveyed 1,686 people between July 15 and 18, found that 65% of women aged 18 to 44 used contraception in the previous month, while a fifth reported a change. their primary method of contraception in the previous month. Oral contraceptives are the most common (28% currently using it as their method), followed by wearable contraceptives such as condoms and diaphragms (23%), contraceptive implants pregnancy and IUD (17%).

Read more: Study says women denied abortion could face long-term health problems

Healthcare providers around the country also say that the fall of Roe has led to an increase in the need for birth control — especially emergency contraception like Plan B, reversible long-acting contraceptives like the IUD, and procedures including sterilization. Diana N. Contreras, director of health care at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said that between June 24 and July 14, the organization saw a 21 percent increase in overall birth control appointments, including a 41% increase in IUD appointments. Nurx, a company that delivers birth control pills by mail, has reported a spike in demand for the emergency contraceptive pill. Following the Supreme Court’s decision in June, the number of people ordering Ella, a single-dose emergency contraceptive that prevents pregnancy for five days after sex, increased tenfold compared with the previous months. According to Julia Bernstein, head of strategy at Thirty, the number of Ella customers who are also buying long-term birth control pills, such as the daily pill, from Nurx has doubled from 30% before the decision. to 60% after that. Madison, the medical company that runs Nurx.

This trend is also reflected in Harris poll data, which shows many women aged 18-44 are considering both emergency and permanent forms of contraception. Only 11% of women aged 18-44 reported using emergency contraception such as Plan B in the past month, but 20% said they would consider using emergency contraception in the future. future.

“People are very worried and people are very confused,” said Dr. Jessica Rubino, a consultant to Nurx and a family medicine physician who provides abortion care in Austin. “It’s hard to know what kind of legislation will apply at the state or national level.”

Organizations that provide birth control information say they experienced a spike in online traffic. Contreras says Planned Parenthood saw a 2,205% increase in traffic to its sterilization page on June 24, Dobbs decision and saw a 400% increase in traffic between that date and July 14. As of June 24, Bedsider, an organization that provides free information on birth control, reported a 288% increase in traffic. on its page on emergency contraception, a 171% increase from its sterilization page and 100% information on the contraceptive patch in states that ban post-abortion abortions.

Residents of many states may be worried for good reason. For example, in Missouri, legislators have demonstrated a willingness to restrict contraceptives; in 2021, state senator voted to prevent Medicaid from paying for common methods of contraception, including the IUD (although that version of the bill ultimately didn’t pass). Colleen McNicholas, medical director of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis and Southwest Missouri.

Read more: Everything You Need to Know About Abortion Pills After Roe

McNicholas and Molly Kunzler, a nurse with Planned Parenthood in Gladstone, Missouri, say they’ve seen a huge increase in demand for long-acting birth control methods. Kunzler adds that more patients than usual have also requested an early replacement of the IUD or requested the longest-lasting contraceptives — including Paragard, an IUD that can last for more than a decade. , which she says are generally less common because they can be more than uncomfortable, at least initially. “They are concerned that they will lose access to birth control in general,” says Kunzler. “[Patients] told us daily that they worry if they don’t get it now or get it soon, they won’t have access to it later. “

McNicholas says she has observed an increase in demand not only for birth control but also for antiseptic—Surgical procedures for permanent contraception in both women and man. Several patients have told her that “they have been certain about this decision for a while, but now feel particularly motivated to get it done quickly,” she says. Meanwhile, in Arizona – where Planned Parenthood has stopped providing abortions due to uncertainty about their legality – Dr. Jill Gibson, medical director at Planned Parenthood Arizona, said the local call center has received a lot of calls about sterilization, including young people.

Gibson says it’s not just her patients that worry. At the two facilities where she works, she has provided four IUDs to employees in the past few weeks. “Even on our own staff, we’re finding it really urgent to make sure contraception works while we still can.”

However, women who don’t want to get pregnant aren’t the only ones looking for long-term contraception. Gibson says that some of her patients and staff who were hoping to have children in the next few years decided “this is not a safe time to do it.” In particular, she says, her staff are aware that many things can go wrong during pregnancy. What if there was a fetal abnormalities? What if the parent or fetus develops? dangerous health condition? What if the doctor interprets the miscarriage as an attempt to terminate the pregnancy? In many states, the answer is still unclear. “There was really extreme fear of what was going to happen,” McNicholas said.

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