March 2020: Power Updates Edition

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March 2020: Power Updates Edition

March 31, 2020

There are plenty of articles, publications, and stories published every month. In an effort to help you distinguish fact from fiction, save time in your already busy day, and share news you may not have otherwise seen, here are seven stories from the last month we thought you might find interesting:

Birth Control

Hormonal Contraception Prescribing by Pharmacists: 2019 Update

Currently, some of the barriers people face when accessing contraception include, but aren’t limited to, a lack of accessibility to a provider, cost, and limited appointment availability. If pharmacists could prescribe birth control that may help to alleviate these challenges. This paper details the current state of pharmacist prescribing in each of the nine states that currently authorize the practice and compares the differences between state laws.

History of Unintended Pregnancy and Patterns of Contraceptive Use Among Racial and Ethnic Minority Women Veterans

This study looked at variations in unintended pregnancy and use of birth control in Hispanic and black women who have previously served in the armed forces. Although veterans have more universal access  to health care than non-veteran populations, the study found significant racial and ethnic disparities in contraceptive use between white, Hispanic, and black women veterans.  While nearly 95% of veterans used a method of contraception at last sex, white women were more likely to have used a prescription method of birth control than Hispanic or black women.

Universal Access to Contraception: Women, Families, and Communities Benefit

In this paper the authors argue for universal contraceptive access, writing, “As obstetrician-gynecologists, we have a critical mandate, based on principle and mission, to step up with leadership on this vital medical and public health issue, to improve the lives of women, their families, and society.”

A Counter-Narrative of the Contraceptive Experiences of Low-Income Latinas

It’s well documented that when people have the power to decide if, when, and under what circumstances to get pregnant and have a child they are more likely to seek higher education, advance in their careers, and have greater reproductive well-being. Yet, racial disparities in contraceptive use exist, especially among Latina women. Through focus groups and in-depth interviews with 16 Latinas, many of the commonly held assumptions for why Latinas are less likely to use birth control compared to their non-Latina peers are explored.

Over-the-Counter Oral Contraceptives to Reduce Unintended Pregnancies

This article argues in favor of legalizing certain forms of birth control to be “over-the-counter,” or available without a prescription. The authors track federal, state, and non-profit efforts advocating for over-the-counter contraception. They believe that there is enough long-term safety data available to eliminate the need for a prescription with certain contraceptives, and that the benefits of making birth control available over the counter will increase access for many people in the United States.

Commentary on Research to Improve Contraceptive and Multipurpose Prevention Technologies

This piece advocates for greater investment into research and development for new methods of contraception. The authors write that as the population of perspective users of birth control grows to an estimated 1.68 billion people worldwide, it’s now imperative to create products that can best address the diverse needs of people so as to encourage widespread and consistent use of birth control.

Pregnancy and Birth

Adoption of Medicaid Expansion Is Associated with Lower Maternal Mortality

This study found that in states that expanded Medicaid under the ACA, maternal mortality rates were significantly lower than in states that chose not to expand Medicaid. The disparity between these states only increased when looking at late maternal deaths (or deaths in women who did not die in childbirth, but in the first year afterwards). Expansion of the program also impacted black mothers more than other racial groups, suggesting that a lack of Medicaid access could be a contributing factor in racial disparities.