Dobbs Fallout Continues


Dobbs Fallout Continues

October 19, 2023
A woman bites at her nails while looking, concerned, at her phone.

Michelle Trupiano is an experienced, dedicated, and effective warrior in support of increasing access to birth control. As the Executive Director of the Missouri Family Health Council, Trupiano works to expand, ensure, and empower reproductive and sexual health care for all, including leading The Right Time initiative and the federal Title X family planning program in Missouri. 

Trupiano is concerned. We all should be. 

“The fallout from the Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling on abortion has had expected and unexpected consequences,” Trupiano, says. “One unexpected result is that health centers across the state report that many patients are confused about the legality of birth control because of the June 2022 decision.”

A recent survey of 1,000 Missouri residents shapes the foundation of her concern. There is considerable confusion about the legality of birth control in Missouri and many are worried about future access, according to the survey released earlier this year. Consider the following choke-on-your-cornflakes findings:  

  • One in four (25%) Missourians do not believe or do not know that birth control pills — the most used form of contraception in the US — are legal in the state. 
  • More than half (53%) do not believe or do not know that emergency contraception is legal, and four in 10 (40%) do not believe or do not know that IUDs are legal. 
  • Fully half of survey respondents (50%) — including 44% of Republicans, 48% of Independents, and 66% of Democrats — are concerned that elected officials in Missouri will enact laws that restrict people from getting the birth control method they want.  

As shocking as these survey results are, there are also some happy and profoundly predictable results. Support for birth control remains rock solid strong. Of note: 

  • 72% of respondents — including 74% of Republicans, 72% of Democrats, and 73% of Independents — think the Missouri state legislature should pass policies that make birth control more affordable and accessible.   
  • 84% of respondents — including 82% of Republicans, 90% of Democrats, and 85% of Independents — support people aged 18-35 having access to all methods of birth control.    

The confusion about birth control is, sadly, not limited to the Show Me state. A recent survey of Arkansas residents 18-24 surfaced similar results and anecdotal information from providers nationwide suggest that confusion about the legality of birth control is shared from sea to shining sea. 
So what to do? More statewide efforts like The Right Time would help. Power to Decide has provided support for the statewide initiative from its inception six years ago. Through this effort, health centers across the state are improving access to contraception by providing free or low-cost birth control in 23 locations. The Right Time provides training, assistance, and funding to expand access to the full range of contraceptive methods. The initiative is focused on offering patients same-day access to all methods of birth control and has resources that make it easier for people in Missouri, including those who are uninsured or underinsured, to receive quality contraceptive services. The Right Time is an initiative of Missouri Foundation for Health and is led by Missouri Family Health Council, Inc.