DOMESTIC GAG RULE REDUCES BIRTH CONTROL ACCESS FOR NEARLY 50,000 WOMEN LIVING IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
(Washington, D.C.) — Data released by Power to Decide estimate that 49,780 New Hampshire women of reproductive age (13-44) in need of publicly funded contraception live in counties impacted by the Title X Family Planning Program “domestic gag rule.” According to the same data, seven out of New Hampshire’s ten counties have lost Title X resources.
The domestic gag rule requires health providers receiving Title X funds to withhold information from patients about abortion services and care. In addition, health centers are required to cease providing abortion care with non-Title X funds at sites that offer Title X supported services, such as contraceptive care, breast and cervical cancer screening and STI testing. The rule requires that abortion services, no matter how they are funded, be performed at a separate physical site, which is impossible for many health centers.
“The implementation of the domestic gag rule could impact close to 50,000 women in need in almost all counties in New Hampshire,” said Ginny Ehrlich, CEO, Power to Decide. “This federal rule exacerbates an already challenging contraceptive access landscape for women struggling to make ends meet. Even before the domestic gag rule went into effect, more than 60,000 low-income women in New Hampshire lived in contraceptive deserts, counties in which there is not reasonable access to the full range of contraceptive methods. As a result, these women face untenable financial barriers related to transportation, child care and taking unpaid time from work costs incurred just to get the contraception they need.”
Data from Power to Decide show that 60,220 women living at or below 250% of the poverty level in New Hampshire live in contraceptive deserts, counties in which there is not reasonable access to a health center offering the full range of contraceptive methods. Nationally, more than 19 million U.S. women of low income live in contraceptive deserts.
In this challenging landscape, New Hampshire is taking proactive steps to partially alleviate the impact of damaging federal policies and to expand access to contraception in various ways. New Hampshire has already expanded Medicaid to low-income adults, which helps decrease the percentage of uninsured women, and by extension, give them contraceptive coverage they need to live healthy lives. Further, New Hampshire has enacted state policies that allow pharmacists to prescribe contraception. In addition, New Hampshire require insurance to cover an extended supply of prescription contraceptives, and protect insurance coverage of the full range of contraceptive methods. More information about these policies can be found here.
Power to Decide is a private, non-partisan, non-profit organization that works to ensure all people—no matter who they are, where they live or what their economic status might be—have the power to decide if, when and under what circumstances to get pregnant and have a child. Please visit us at www.PowerToDecide.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.