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The 2022 repeal of Roe vs Wade has revealed new and existing issues around contraceptive access in the United States, as discussed in a new publication from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. The published brief summarizes the proceedings of a February 2024 virtual public webinar, whose panel of experts featured Beyond the Pill director, Dr. Cynthia Harper.

Hands holding different birth control methods

Speakers shared insights on challenges to and potential strategies for improving contraceptive access in the shifting post-Roe landscape. They emphasized the importance of increasing contraceptive access in this context, including in primary care settings and via new modes of delivery such as telemedicine and over-the-counter pills at the pharmacy. Topics discussed included using a sexual and reproductive health equity lens to approach contraceptive access, the danger of contraceptive coercion in restrictive climates, the importance of shared decision-making in provider encounters, and the unique barriers faced by adolescents seeking contraceptive care.

Dr. Harper’s remarks focused on implications of the Supreme Court decision on post-abortion contraception care. She offered the following recommendations for addressing both longstanding and emerging challenges post Roe:

  • According to new research, providers can now offer the full range of contraceptive methods in abortion care settings, including methods that allow for greater patient autonomy, such as self-administered Depo-Provera.
  • Telemedicine and online pharmacies can improve access and convenience for all patients, especially those who do not want contraceptive counseling at the time of abortion care.
  • Provider training programs can be used to ensure that abortion providers have the most up-to-date, evidence-based information on the various contraceptive methods, as well as addressing misinformation and reducing coercion in contraceptive counseling settings.
  • Providers can use educational resources that emphasize patient autonomy rather than effectiveness to reduce the potential for coercion during contraceptive counseling.

In her closing remarks, Dr. Harper advocated for additional research on providing contraceptive care outside of clinical settings, calling it a “very fruitful area to find out how we can be most strategic and make the most headway.”