The importance of ensuring that women can choose any contraceptive method

One of the most visible aspects of Upstream’s work is increasing access to IUDs and implants. Millions of women do not have access to these methods and we work every day to expand access and address these gaps. However, the core of our work is expanding access to the full range of contraceptive methods – that is what drives us. We are committed to empowering women to choose the method of their choice because women should be in charge of their own contraceptive decisions with patient-centered counseling, and it is simultaneously the best way to reduce unintended pregnancy.

An important article from mid-2016 by Adam Thomas, former research director for the Center on Children and Families at Brookings and assistant professor at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute, estimates that women switching from no method of contraception to any method results in a greater reduction in pregnancy than switching from the pill to IUDs and implants. This shouldn’t be too surprising. While it’s true that women who use IUDs and implants have dramatically lower unintended pregnancy rates, creating the opportunity for a woman using no contraceptive method to switch to any method at all is likely to lead to the greatest reduction in unintended pregnancy.

With Upstream’s work, we don’t view this as an “either or.” We ensure that women are able to gain access to all methods, whether they are switching to a more effective method, or choosing to use contraception from none. Our mission at Upstream is to change health care so that all women receive the highest quality services and have convenient access to the full range of contraceptive methods, including the most effective, IUDs and the implant. We stress “both and” not “either or.”

Providing access to the full range of contraceptive methods is both the right thing to do in the interest of reducing unintended pregnancy and it is the right thing to do in the interest of patient-centered quality care.


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