CONTACT: SEQUOIA AYALA, ESQ., SAYALA@SISTERLOVE.ORG
(Atlanta, Georgia) – September 26, 2019 - Today, SisterLove recognizes World Contraception Day. It has been almost 60 years since the first oral contraceptive was approved in the United States. Since then, birth control has allowed women to take control of their reproductive health by deciding if, when, and how to create a family. Despite advances, the current systems for providing birth control are not meeting the contraceptive needs of all people of reproductive age. Further, the Trump administration is steadily decreasing access to contraception options whether by seeking to deny folks access to the ACA birth control benefit or limiting access to federal funding from organizations that provide contraception and other comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services. We now must focus and fight harder to ensure that everyone has accessible and affordable contraceptive options.
As the oldest women-centered HIV, sexual health, and reproductive justice organization in the Southeast, SLI faces the crushing burden of addressing the many health inequities that plague our communities. Black women experience higher rates of unintended pregnancies compared to other racial and ethnic groups, regardless of income. Disparities in rates of unintended pregnancy are related to implicit and explicit racism when interacting with the medical system, lack of quality information about effective family planning methods, and inability to access or afford reproductive health care.
We envision a future where every person has the resources they need to make decisions about their own bodies and lives with dignity and access to affordable contraception is critical to making this happen.
We need truly accessible contraceptive options that work for our communities. SisterLove is proud to be a member of the Oral Contraceptives (OCs) Over-the-Counter (OTC) Working Group. The OC-OTC Working Group works provide all women of reproductive age easier access to safe, effective, acceptable, and affordable contraceptives,” particularly working on an over-the-counter birth control option. Over-the-counter access to contraception would allow people to determine how and when to have children and give them greater control over their lives and reproductive health.
Additionally, we want to highlight the importance of integrating services to address the needs of women who desire access to hormonal contraception and methods that prevent the transmission of HIV. This is critical specifically for Sub-Saharan African women and women across the diaspora. HIV prevention education and tools, including PrEP and female/internal condoms, should be available at all family planning clinics. Women need strategies to prevent pregnancies and HIV infection at the same facilities, from the same providers, in a rights-based, person-centered context. The risk of unplanned and unintended pregnancy and HIV are often pitted against each other by scientists, practitioners, and normative agencies. Now is the time for integration--of services, of available methods, and assessment of risk for health outcomes.
Today, SisterLove is asking for support and visibility for access to affordable and an over the counter birth control option for all women. Additionally, we want to encourage the integration of contraception services with HIV prevention education and tools. This World Contraception Day, join us in a digital day of action to:
Bring visibility to the challenges many people, especially young people, face accessing prescription birth control and prevention tools and services.
Call attention to the need for over-the-counter access to birth control pills for people of all ages.
Get loud about the need for access to include integration of reproductive health services including contraception, PrEP, and condoms.
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For more information on the work of the OC OTC Working Group and the Over the Counter Movement, you can visit these websites: