DOMESTIC GAG RULE REDUCES CONTRACEPTIVE ACCESS FOR 286,000 WOMEN LIVING IN ARIZONA
Washington, D.C. — According to data released by Power to Decide, an estimated 286,020 Arizona women of reproductive age (13-44) in need of publicly funded contraception live in a county impacted by the implementation of the Title X Family Planning Program “domestic gag rule.” According to the same data, two out of Arizona’s 15 counties have lost some Title X resources.
The domestic gag rule requires health providers receiving Title X funds to withhold some 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 new rule requires that abortion services, no matter how they are funded, must be performed at a separate physical site, which is impossible for many health centers. In the face of these challenges, family planning providers are doing their best to provide high-quality services to their patients and fill gaps left in the wake of the disruption caused by the rule
“The implementation of the domestic gag rule could impact more than 286,000 women in need in Arizona,” said Gillian Sealy, 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 453,000 low-income women in Arizona 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 financial barriers related to transportation, child care and taking unpaid time from work; costs they incur just to get the contraception they need.”
Data from Power to Decide show that 453,430 women living at or below 250% of the poverty level in Arizona 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, states like Arizona can take steps to partially alleviate the impact of damaging federal policies and to proactively expand access to contraception in various ways. Arizona has already expanded Medicaid to low-income adults, which helps decrease the percentage of uninsured women, and by extension, give them contraceptive coverage. In addition, allowing pharmacists to prescribe contraception and requiring insurance to cover an extended supply of prescription contraceptives can make it easier to access some contraceptive methods. Arizona can also guard against additional barriers to access by enacting policies that 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.