MORE THAN 300,000 WOMEN IN ALABAMA LIVE IN CONTRACEPTIVE DESERTS
(Washington, D.C.) — Recent data from Power to Decide show an estimated 311,530 women with low income in Alabama live in contraceptive deserts, or counties in which there is not reasonable access to a health center offering the full range of contraceptive methods.
Currently, across the country more than 19 million U.S. women of low income live in contraceptive deserts.
“In Alabama, over 300,000 women must overcome significant barriers to access the contraception they need and deserve in order to decide if, when and under what circumstances to get pregnant and have a child,” said Raegan McDonald-Mosley, MD, MPH, CEO of Power to Decide. “The challenge of covering costs associated with obtaining family planning services—such as transportation, child care and unpaid time off from work—may be too great a burden for women already struggling to make ends meet.”
Family planning providers are making every effort to provide contraceptive services to patients across the state. In fact, we commend the Alabama Department of Public Health for improving access to the full range of contraceptive methods at its Title X family planning clinics. By ensuring its network of 81 clinics offer the full range of methods, the number of women living in Alabama counties without a single clinic offering the full range (a subset of women living in contraceptive deserts) has declined by 150,000 or 91%.
In Alabama, as the pandemic continues to negatively impact people’s lives in various ways, taking additional proactive steps to expand access to contraception is more important than ever. Expanding Medicaid to childless adults would help decrease the percentage of uninsured women, and by extension, give them the contraceptive coverage they need to live healthy lives. 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. Alabama can also guard against additional barriers to access by enacting policies that protect insurance coverage of the full range of contraceptive methods.
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.