Chronicles of Contraceptive Access: Real Women’s Stories About Accessing Contraception

Birth control is popular. More than 80% of people in the United States support broad-based access to contraception and agree that it should be a basic part of women’s health care. In fact, access to contraception is supported by the majority of Republicans and Democrats alike. But despite that broad-based support, there is a great deal of conversation about the fate of specific policy provisions that give millions of women the contraceptive access that allows them to decide if, when, and under what circumstances to get pregnant. Amidst the rhetoric, statistics, and complexities of federal policy, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that real people will be affected by these policy changes.

Millions of women, for example, have gained coverage of preventive services without out-of-pocket costs due to the ACA and millions more are eligible for, and have accessed, publicly funded contraception through Medicaid- and Title X-funded clinics. If changes to the preventative services provision, Medicaid, or Title X were enacted, millions of women would lose access to the free or low cost contraception that is so critical to their ability to live life on their own terms. These women have deeply personal stories about how critically important contraceptive coverage and access without additional costs has been to their lives.

We at The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy feel that it is extraordinarily important to give a voice to the stories of these real women. So, today we are launching Chronicles of Contraceptive Access, a national storytelling effort that aims to bring the experiences and accounts of real people to the forefront of this debate. Our goal is to humanize the impact of losing health care coverage—and specifically preventive services—elevating the fact that this is not a partisan issue. 

Take Christina, age 29, from Auburn, Alabama:  She “always wanted to try the IUD,” the most effective, low-maintenance birth control method available, but “had heard horror stories of it being $1,000 or more, something I definitely could not afford. Thanks to the ACA, my health insurance covered it completely. My IUD needs to be replaced in 2018, at which time I'll want to get a new one. If the ACA is repealed, I guess I'll have to start saving now!”

We will share these stories about real people because we believe they will give Congress, our new President, and the public something to think about when considering the fate of the contraceptive coverage provision within the ACA and other public support for birth control. 

In the coming weeks, we hope that you will read the Chronicles of Contraceptive Access and share the stories far and wide through your social media channels and networks. Most importantly, we hope that you remember the real people behind these stories, and the millions more they represent. Because the impact that repealing these ACA provisions and other public funding for birth control will have on them, their families, and the country as a whole is what this is all about. Finally, we encourage you to lend your own voice to the effort by sharing your story with us.

Authored by: Ginny Ehrlich

Ginny Ehrlich is the chief executive officer at the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Prior to taking the helm at the National Campaign, Ginny directed the childhood obesity prevention portfolio at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and led the Foundation’s efforts to establish a strategic direction for its $500 million investment in ensuring that all children achieve a healthy weight by 2025. Previously, Ginny spent eight years at the Clinton Foundation, where she served as the Founding CEO of the Clinton Health Matters Initiative and the long-time CEO of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. During her tenure at the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, Ginny positioned the organization as a national leader on preventing childhood obesity and started the nation’s largest school-based obesity prevention program. Ginny started her career in the classroom as a health and sexuality educator, and has held several state and national leadership positions.

Ginny has dedicated her more than 20-year career to improving the health and wellbeing of children, adolescents, and families. Known for her abilities to build organizational strategic vision and foster partnerships of great purpose across the public, private and nonprofit sectors, Ginny was recognized in 2012 by Health Leaders as one of the nation’s top change agents in the health sector. Ginny has a breadth of experience working with businesses, community organizations, policymakers, schools, and government officials on a wide variety of social welfare issues.

Ginny holds a doctorate of education in education leadership and a Master of Science in Special Education, both from the University of Oregon, a Master of Public Health from Boston University and a BA in Community Health Education, from the University of Oregon. She lives in Washington, DC; she is an avid tennis player and runner.

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