LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Biden administration took the first steps of the regulatory process to eliminate the household gag rule, which has forced more than 900 reproductive health clinics nationwide to exit the Title X family planning program and lose significant amounts of funding.
Rachel Fey, Vice President for Policy and Strategic Partnerships at the Contraceptive Access Group Power to decide, said the move is key to improving access to affordable birth control in rural and low-income communities.
“Getting rid of that gag rule and increasing the annual funding of Title X are two things that this administration is starting to do, and that Congress – in terms of the level of funding – can build on, which we believe to be. critically important, ”she said. .
In Arkansas, state lawmakers are considering Bill 1069, which would allow pharmacists to prescribe contraceptives directly to clients. According to the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations, at least six states already allow pharmacists to prescribe contraceptives.
Fey said a significant number of counties in Arkansas have only one clinic or health provider per 1,000 women offering reproductive planning options – making them “contraceptive deserts.”
“For example, it could mean that there is a health center in their county that offers the full range of methods,” she said, “but the number of low-income women who depend on this clinic compares its capacity may not match. “
Fey added that the lack of access to birth control particularly affects black, brunette and indigenous women. She said she believes more work is needed to ensure that women in disadvantaged communities have the tools they need for family planning.
“A large network of health centers that offer the full range of methods,” she said, “and policies that help increase that with good coverage of the full range of methods without co-payment no matter how much money you make no matter where you live. “
Arkansas has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in the country and one of the highest unintended pregnancy rates in the country for women of all ages, according to the Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention.
receive more stories like this by email